May 24
  Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to
remain an artist
once we grow up.

Pablo Picasso


Today's Meditation:

It always surprises me when I learn that people in cultures that are different from mine expect their kids to be able to express themselves creatively.  They don't expect perfection or fine art, but it's just a natural part of life that everyone is able to use their artistic talents to be able to express something important about themselves to others.  When I see this, I think of how often we squelch the creativity of our young people because it somehow doesn't "measure up," and it makes  me sad.

When I was young, I had a lot of adults criticize whatever I did artistically--people who really had no idea of what creativity meant, or of what expression meant--and that did change the ways in which I expressed myself.  I still practiced art, as I wasn't going to let their criticism change me, but I no longer shared it with adults.  I wouldn't even take art classes, because I had one teacher who never really gave any instruction, but who came along and slapped a grade on whatever we did--and how were we supposed to improve then?  So art became an isolated activity, and that was fine by me.

Many other kids that I knew, though, stopped drawing or painting or writing completely after a few incidents of others criticizing their work, or laughing at it and mocking it.  Sometimes kids give up because of the criticism of others, and sometimes they give up because they set their own standards far too high, judging their own work against the work of other people who have had far more training and practice than they have.  Either way, we all lose out when any individual gives up his or her artistry in life.

Every one of us is an artist.  It's too bad we so often let our artistic sides waste away, though, as the demands of "life" keep us too busy to paint or to draw or to write or to sculpt. . . or whatever other endeavor allows us to express the artist inside of us.  It can be reclaimed, though--even if we didn't "remain" artists, we definitely can recapture the artist who could have been, at any time we'd like, and then we can enrich the world with our creations.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people not allow the artist inside of themselves to stay with them as they "grow up"?

How might you go about re-establishing the artist that you are?

What are some possible benefits of artistic expression in our lives?  How might we affect others, too?

For further thought:

No matter how old you get, if you can
keep the desire to be creative,
you're keeping the child inside alive.

John Cassavetes


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