i met a six year old today at a kids’ craft booth i was overseeing.
long brown hair, missing teeth and blue eyes.
i watched her for 15 minutes as she meticulously drew a picture of her parents, surrounded by floating, smiling faces.
most six year olds scribble.
she was different.
the picture of concentration as she drew the eyes to even sizes,
and used short, precise strokes to evenly color in her mother’s dress.
i was beyond impressed.
her mother was not.
she came storming back, the girl’s baby brother clutched to her chest, and demanded that she “hurry up” so they could go.
how do you tell someone with no patience that there is no rushing artistry?
the mother tried several times to get her to leave our table, unfinished drawing in tow.
and each time, the girl nodded, but stayed to pepper on a few last details.
i was rooting for her silently.
because that little girl is an artist in the making,
and it’s a harsh, cruel world for people with her talents.
i hope today is the start of good practice for her.
practice in politely disagreeing with those who try to steer her to more “valuable” pastimes.
practice in seeing the importance of her own work.
practice in tearfully saying, “i’m going.” when her parents dissuade her from an art school when she turns 18.
she left when she was ready.
she left when her marker-stained hands had finished their work and had nothing left to say.
and she waved and was gone.
good on you, kiddo.
keep that up.