I recently went to the Rodin Exhibit at Methodist University. I have long been an admirer of his work and have gone to Raleigh to see the Exhibit. While at the exhibit, a comment was made about the first time that you appreciated art. The comment reminded me of seventh grade and a negative experience. I had done my masterpiece and turned it in to my teacher, Mr. Helms. He gave me a D. From this experience, I felt that only talented people could enjoy art. Since, I had no talent, I surely couldn’t enjoy the great artists.
My attitude changed when I was asked to open the first middle school in San Diego and they changed the name from Collier to Correa. Glass artist, Steve Correa was credited with rediscovering the genius of Tiffany. I thought great, I had to be in charge and I was sure that my credentials as a non-artist would cause me problems.
Then it happened and I met Steve Correa. I told him my dilemma and he helped me understand, that life isn’t about having all the talent, but about celebrating my talent and appreciating the talents of others. The world that he opened for me! I love art. I love to see the great painters. I appreciate the people that have that talent. I still don’t.
I use this as an example, because our children today sometimes have the attitude that they can only succeed if the other person fails. They see it modeled in adults. Isn’t the split in Congress about if you get credit for something, then I will be a loser, therefore, I have to make you a loser? To move forward, we must teach our children that sometimes, we have to sacrifice for the common good.
How do we do this? We have to create a place for our students where they feel success. Not everyone is going to be a great athlete, artist or get into Harvard. Do our children feel that we will only love them when they succeed? Have you defined success in your terms? If they aren’t a star athlete, does it mean that you aren’t a good parent? A good parent is one that loves their children unconditionally. You look for the talents that they have and celebrate those with them. I understand that life is hard and it is easier being a grandparent than a parent. Every child is unique and has unique talents.
I’ve learned to enjoy the things that my children and grandchildren do well. I warn my son about expecting my grandson to be great at everything. It’s not going to happen.
I’m glad that I’ve matured enough to enjoy the things that are not my talent. I love art, watching sports, and reading books by talented authors.
Let’s make a commitment to celebrate our children’s talents. Find it. It is there. After all, they are our future.
Dr. Frank Till
Published by Laurie Pender on March 1, 2016