My wife noticed it first… even as a preschooler, our daughter Samantha could draw an almost perfect circle. She just loved anything to do with drawing, art, crafts. There was something in the way she applied herself to it; she just seemed to love it!
As a single income family with 3 kids, my job as a Service Technician didn’t pay much (under $12 an hour if I remember correctly). Usually by the time we paid rent, food and petrol, there was very little left. We basically did what many people do and lived week to week.
Our focus was always on the well-being of our children though, so we somehow managed to do all the things a parent does with their kids: music, tennis lessons, and so on. I’m not saying we were perfect parents – raising children is a dirty, gritty, demanding business and we made mistakes… lots of them. But I think that if your heart is in the right place, it’s better to try different things, improve and try not to repeat those mistakes… making mistakes is part of life!
When Samantha was aged five, we began taking her to Victoria Art Studio out at Camden (NSW) after school. It was a 45 minute drive each way and we did that for many years. Samantha says now that her art teacher, Vicky, was the inspiration for her love of the technical and traditional aspects of art. Later, when we moved to another part of Sydney, we had trouble finding a new place for her to develop her skills. Even at age 10, Samantha was frustrated that the art classes were playing with paddle pop sticks and glue, which she could at home. Eventually, we found a nice old Chinese man named Tom doing portraits at the local weekend markets and he agreed to give Samantha lessons on Friday night with a group of Chinese girls. The language barrier and stoic approach to drawing was difficult for Samantha, but she pressed on and her art improved and began to develop further.
We all hear about the pushy parents who are always running around, trying to vicariously live through their children’s glorious triumphs, but I’m not talking about that. God has placed gifts within your children and has entrusted an important job to you. I’m talking about being caring and resourceful enough as a parent that you enable your child to develop their latent potential giftings. This is a very good thing.
It reminds me of a conversation I overheard between my older sister and my Mum when I was five years old. They were talking about me and my brothers and what we would be when we grew up. I remember them saying they thought my brother Mick would be a bricklayer (he ended up being an electrician). When they got to me, they both agreed I would be a concert pianist. The reality was that we lived in a housing commission home and my Mum was raising eight children. Even she wanted to send me to piano lesson, she wouldn’t have been able to. However, I have often remembered that conversation and it made me determined to take action in regard to the future of my children.
Samantha is now attending a prestigious Art College, developing her gift and absolutely loving it. My wife and I take great joy in seeing her progress. Will Samantha ever be a famous artist? It’s possible but not likely. She will develop into a good artist, though and has the potential to be established in the art world, if she chooses. Are we concerned towards her ability to make a good living? Not at all – Samantha works part time as Marketing Co-Ordinator for a Educational Coaching company and is looking towards the option of doing a Marketing Degree when she completes her Fine Arts Degree and her future is bright. She has many amazing qualities and as parents, we are immensely proud of her!
So, here is my advice to you if you have young children: watch and observe them. Get down on the floor and play with them at their level. Run around in the backyard with them. Get to really know THEM. If they don’t have any obvious talents or gifting, try different activities with them. Find out what makes them tick, how their brain works, what they love and what they hate. You can do it. Then, focus your attention on doing the sacred job that has been entrusted to you… you’ll be glad you did, and they will one day too.