The One About Creating and Failing

Today the littles and I went on an adventure.  We went to our local art gallery to visit this lovely in person.  We had never been there before, so we had no idea what to expect.

This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson
This lovely painting by one of my favorite artists, Barbara Wilkinson

 

This beautiful picture is painted by one of my favorite artists.  She speaks to my soul, as she paints my stories before I even tell them.  I saw a photo of this work of art the day I had just finished writing about my Daddy’s rows in his garden and how he laid them straight.  Perfectly in sync.  I love the story in this painting.

At the art gallery we were privileged to see all sorts of different works–some more abstract than others.  We saw animals and scenery and still life.  Several joined my wish list, as their stories became a part of mine.  We enjoyed an impromptu tour with another of our favorite artists, Miss Jackie.  What a gift she gave us today–her presence and her time.  She had me laughing with the stories about a couple of her paintings.  Cooter picked out one that she had yet to finish and said he wanted to hang it in his room.  I was surprised but pleasantly so.  If my children find their own love of art, I will be ecstatic.

I had both Cooter and Princess find one piece to make up a story about.  They entertained me with the stories on the way home.  Both had me laughing.  Such creativity!  These are the kind of days that make homeschooling especially joyful.

When we reflected on our visit, we talked about all the different kinds of painting we saw–all the different media used, the different sized paintings, the different subjects, right down to the way the artists signed their work.  As we talked, they began to understand.

“Is there any right way to create art?” I asked them.

I was thrilled to see the light dawning and a smile slowly growing on their faces.  “No, there’s not.”  I swanee I think I saw a look of relief on Cooter’s face.  He had been talking earlier about how he didn’t know how to paint like the artists whose work we had seen.

Exactly, buddy, do you.  Paint like you.  I can promise you I’ll love it for always.

On our way home, we stopped to pick up some frozen broccoli.  Yes, that was it.  Of course, I knew we would likely pick up a few other things, but I have turned into my Mama when it comes to shopping.  I get certain things from certain stores.  And from this store–frozen broccoli, rice, paper products, shampoo, and printer ink.  Those things especially but I can get others.  They are the only ones who carry the big five-pound bag of broccoli florets.  I was out, we eat a lot of it, it was time to make the stop.  And since it was on the way home and no one was in a wet swimsuit or dance leotard…..the timing was perfect.

Before we went in, I led our merry band of misfits in our shopping mantra, “Hey, we’re going in with nothing, and we’re coming out with…..”

“NOTHING!” they chimed in correctly.  This is my way of preparing them for no toy aisle expectations.  Eh.  Sometimes it actually works.

“Yes, well, except for frozen broccoli.  We don’t even need to walk by the toy aisle, y’all.  Let’s get in and let’s get out.  Okay?”

As they were unbuckling and moving to the door, Cooter said with a sincerity that was a bit troubling, “I will help you find the broccoli, okay Mama?”

Princess whipped her head back around to him.  “Oh, you are just trying to get on her good side so you can walk through the toy aisle, that’s all!”  She was livid.

Cooter had the good grace to look sheepish as a grin covered his face.  He caught me watching in the rearview mirror.  “Really, Mama, I want to help.”

Ha.  Whatever.  Busted, my friend.

As is par for the course, when we got inside the need for shampoo and detangler and lip balm was realized.  We finally made it over to the frozen vegetables.  I was thrilled to see some of my favorite veggies back in stock, frozen by a local company.  I loaded up on them.  We found the bananas we needed and a couple of other things, and we headed for the checkout.

The crew helped me unload the buggy, and we were on our way home.  We’d gotten about a half mile from the store when it hit me.  “Frozen broccoli!”  If I hadn’t been driving, I totally would have slapped my forehead.  I mean are you kidding me?  All that, and I forgot what. I. went. in. for.

Oh me.

I had to laugh.  I could almost hear Mama saying, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”  I looked back at Cooter and pretended to be mad.

“Dude, you said you’d help me find the broccoli.  And neither one of us remembered…..” I kept on teasing him, and then I dropped the “f” bomb.  Pretending to give him a hard time, I said, “Dude, epic Fail.”

They were both laughing.  Then I heard Princess say, “Yeah, Cooter, you’re a failure.”

Wait.  What?

Nooooooo.

I seriously almost pulled the car over.

A failure?  No.  I knew then and there I had to straighten that out.

“No!  Cooter is not a failure.  Y’all you can completely fail at something, but that doesn’t make you a failure.  Ever.  That means that you tried and it didn’t work out, so you need to rethink it and try again a different way.  Or let it go for a while.  But trying and failing DOES. NOT.  MAKE.  YOU.  A. FAILURE.  No way, no how.  Y’all got that?”

Yeah, I might have raised my voice.

I feel just that strongly about it.

Because fear of failure means they might not try.  And I want them to try.  Always.  Try their best, and see where it takes them.  Sometimes failures can take you to some pretty neat destinations.  I can attest to that firsthand.  But I never want them to label themselves OR ANYONE ELSE a failure.  That’s not okay.

I think they heard me today.  About being you, doing you, creating your art.  I think they understood a little of what I was trying to say about falling down not making a person a failure.  I do.

But if homeschooling and raising this zany bunch has taught me anything, it’s that usually none of us get it on the first go round.  We have to read it or try it again.  So we will be talking about these things again.  And often.  Because I think they are related–being you, creating your own mark in the world that isn’t a copy of anyone else’s, and not being afraid of doing so because you might fail…..yeah, I think they are.

Failing at something is a bump in the road.  It’s not a place to live.  You hit the bump and keep on going.  Creating.  Loving.  Living.

That’s a good lesson for today.  And everyday.

Love to all.

 

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