Self confidence has never been my strong suit. I know that I am probably a lot harder on myself than most other people will be, especially friends and family. That plays into doubting what they say and fueling that doubt. This is one of those things that I do know and recognize about myself and I’ve tried to watch for it in my kids and encourage them to push past it in themselves. It is something I had thought they were doing pretty well with. Until BG was getting ready to start her art class in second semester.
The last few weeks before the semester, all I heard was how bad she was going to do and how bad she was at art. This really kind of threw me because she is REALLY good. She even had her middle school art teacher sing her praises in vouching for her to skip the intro class to get into a higher level class to make her schedule work this year. I didn’t understand where the doubt was coming from. It really didn’t feel like normal BG attitude. No, she isn’t always uber confident, but… in certain areas it isn’t an issue and art used to be one of those things.
Her first assignment for the class was just a kind of “I want to see where you are” kind of thing. They had a packet where they had to draw a few different things, but it wasn’t a big deal. She was convinced she did horrible and that everything she drew was crap.
Now, as something of an artist myself, I have ALWAYS tried to teach my kids a variety of things when it comes to drawing and art and color, so they have always had some of those basics. All of my kids have some pretty damn good creative and artistic skills, but both BG and MC lean more towards the math and sciences, with BG trying really hard to straddle the line between the creative and the analytical. I have also been really honest with them on what they do. I’m not one to fluff what I say when it comes to art. I try like hell to balance that honesty in a way to not seem like I’m being overly critical either. Mostly, I don’t want to give them a false sense of their abilities, either direction.
That is part of why I couldn’t understand why she was being so hard on herself and not really listening to me when I told her what she was doing was still awesome. I even told her straight up that what she put in her packet wasn’t her best work, but it was still really good. She was so damn hard on herself and was convinced it sucked. So much so, she was floored when her teacher was impressed.
They have now done several projects and I still hear how terrible she is doing, how awful her project is… until they are done and she is seeing hers side by side with the other students. I don’t know what she is expecting or comparing herself to, unless they are higher level students or even professionals, but she is always shocked as hell when her projects are always so well done.
In this, I think she is way too much like me. It will not matter what I have to say, even if she is constantly asking my opinion and advice, she will only learn this by doing and experiencing the results. I can tell her over and over again, until I’m blue in the face, that she is well above average for her age when it comes to art skills, especially in certain areas. She has a talent for drawing faces (or at least certain parts) so fricking well it blows my mind. The drawing posted here is hers, so you can see I’m not just being the proud parent. She doesn’t listen when I tell her that. It is kind of scary how much like me she is when it comes to this. Scary because I really believe it is one of the things that tends to hold me back and I don’t want that for her.
I can only hope that she can really learn from this class that what she has heard in the past aren’t just polite compliments, but genuine praise for her hard work and talent. Because, and here I WILL be proud parent, my girl has got some serious artistic talent.