From the Masters

An excerpt from Life Lessons by Rick Tocquigny

In the first grade, our tall, red-headed teacher, Cleo Reagan, asked us…

How many artists are in this class?

We all raised our hands.

Four years later, our short, diminutive art instructor, Wanda Helvey, asked the same question and only one-third of the same class responded by raising their hands.

By the seventh grade, we were down to one-sixth of the class and finally by our senior year, only two out of the original 25 raised their hands. What happened across twelve years? Had we been sucker punched with self-doubt about our artistic capabilities?

At the start of our schooling, our parents gave frequent positive feedback about our artwork as they proudly displayed our renderings on the refrigerator. Somewhere along the path of our elementary education, some person or teacher pointed out a mistake and we started focusing on those comments. The presumed mistakes manifested themselves into, “I can’t draw. I’m not an artist.” We internalized the criticism and forever gave up on some of the best talent that 2-to 5-year-old children had developed. The majority of artists started listening to other voices and putting more credence in the opinion of their peers versus their own inner voice of confidence. Who has the right to feed you such negativity?

The mistake made is in listening to other people. On top of that, the grading process of the arts is questionable. Grading systems point out flaws. Isn’t the whole idea of school to learn, grow and become contributing citizens?

Life Lesson…

Above all else:

Listen to your inner voice and have confidence that you can chase your own passion.

Foster an intimacy with your own skills and confidently build from your first level of success.

To learn more about Life Lessons, please click here!

Reprinted by permission of Simple Truths (c) 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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