As our children get older, we need to continue to discover their interests, but we also need to take it further. We need to nurture their passions.
My parents were amazing in this area! I’ve always been very creative, so they made sure that I could test out my artistic interests and, if I discovered I loved something, they nurtured that passion. At our Air Force base’s arts and crafts center, I took drawing, ceramics, oil and water color painting and pottery classes. The drawing classes, I loved! We did pencil and, occasionally, pen & ink. For as long as Miss. Ivy taught, I took drawing classes.
Ceramics were another favorite. Millie wasn’t the most pleasant person, but I learned how to clean the pieces and then stain or glaze them and I learned to do it well! She was demanding, but I learned so much and I enjoyed it. My parents even took me to her house for classes in her basement when she quit working at the arts & crafts center.
Oil painting was another thing I enjoyed. I don’t remember the teacher, but I remember the feel of the brush in my hand. Even after we moved, I continued taking occasional classes.
Watercolors… not so much. I’m just too much of a perfectionist to do watercolors. I don’t have the talent to get things “just so” and it drove me nuts!
Pottery… epic failure! I don’t think I ever made anything over 2 1/2 inches tall that didn’t quickly collapse and fly off the wheel! It LOOKED so easy when the teacher did it…
What made this all such a wonderful experience for me was that I was encouraged in the things I was passionate about, and I wasn’t forced to do things I hated. Sounds like every kid’s dream, right? There were limits, though, and I understood and appreciated them.
- If I asked to take a class, I had to finish the entire month. Classes were paid for by the month, so I wasn’t allowed to go to one class and just quit… even if my clay did fly off the wheel and the teacher wasn’t nice. This taught me to honor my commitments, but it also allowed me to try new things without having no end in sight to things I ended up hating.
- I couldn’t take every class I wanted to all at the same time. I would have been perfectly happy to do two drawing classes, two ceramics classes and one oil painting class a week! I could have happily lived at the arts & crafts center. Money and time limits were set for me and I was given the freedom to choose how to use them. I can clearly remember at the ripe old age of 11, debating the pros and cons of each class. Most often, I ended up choosing one drawing class and one ceramics class per week. Occasionally I’d try something else and I really appreciated the freedom to make my own decisions.
I plan to follow my parents’ example with our children. When they find an interest that might become something they are passionate about, I will do my best to give them the tools and opportunities to explore it!
Do you have older children who have discovered some of their passions?
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