From Life Lessons by Rick Tocquigny
Listen To and Trust Your Inner Voice
The best career advice to give to the young is, “Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for doing it.”
In the first grade, our tall, red-headed teacher Cleo Reagan asked us, “How many artists are in this class?” We all raised our hands. Four years later, our diminutive art instructor Wanda Helvey asked the same question, and only one-third of the same class raised their hands.
By the seventh grade, we were down to one-sixth of the class, and finally, by our senior year, only two our of the original twenty-five raised their hands. What happened across twelve years? Had we been sucker punched with self-doubt about our artistic abilities?
At the start of our schooling, our parents gave frequent positive feedback about our artwork as they proudly displayed our renderings on the refrigerator. Somewhere along the path of our elementary education, some person or teacher pointed out a mistake, and we started focusing on those comments. The presumed mistakes manifested themselves into, “I can’t draw. I’m not an artist.” We internalized the criticism and forever gave up on some of the best talent that two- to five-year-old children had developed. The majority of artists started listening to other voices and giving more credence to the opinions of their peers rather than their own inner voice of confidence. Who has the right to feed you such negativity?
The mistake made is in listening to other people. On top of that, the grading process for the arts is questionable. Grading systems point out flaws. Isn’t the whole idea of school to learn, grow, and becoming a contributing citizen? Let’s work toward a mind-set that encourages youth (and adults!) to listen to that inner voice.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
©Life Lessons 2012 by Simple Truths
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