I have a beautiful, intelligent and talented Daughter named Lilly, everyone who knows her can see that, everyone of course except for Lilly herself. I am not sure exactly when she began to doubt herself or when trying new things became more of a risk for her and less fun. At nine years old it is increasingly difficult as her mum to see her doubt herself to the point where she refuses to try something that she really wants to do.
This became more apparent at the weekend when she asked me to draw a cupcake for her best friends birthday. I could of done it for her, I had the time and the resources but I thought it would be more special to her friend if Lilly drew it herself. After a few huffs and puffs, she sat at my desk ready to begin and just looked so devastatingly disheartened as she declared ‘I can’t do this, I can’t draw!’ Before she had even touched pencil to paper.
I was at a complete loss, what can you say? How could I possibly reassure her that she can do anything that she puts her mind to and that she only has to try?
I tried to explain to her that just like her figure skating (which she loves and has been studying for two years) she had to practice drawing and that the more you practice the better you will get. That no one is born with the ability to draw, everyone has to learn the basics, even holding a pencil is something you learn. So you think you can’t draw … YET! That if she really wants to learn a skill then she already has what she needs to get started … the desire to learn.
I started by talking her through the basics of how to get a cupcake shape and she looked at a cupcake that I had drawn in my 100 circles challenge. She had a hard time believing that she was doing it right and kept telling me that hers was not good enough. Of course my automatic response is not to be so silly, however I had to stop myself and remember to say that it wasn’t as good. YET! And also remind her that it wasn’t the first cupcake that I had ever drawn either (I do like drawing cupcakes!) so I had a little more practice than she did.
I really do not want to discount her emotions, I want her to be free to express her emotions and frustrations when she needs to but I really want her to see that she has so much potential if she just decides to put her mind to it.
It took her around 20 mins to draw and colour her cupcake. I think that she did a fantastic job but what made me even happier was that once she had finished drawing her cupcake she decided to draw around the cupcake too, adding words and pictures of balloons which altogether created a beautiful picture and without any guidance from me.
A picture that Lilly was really proud of because she had drawn the whole thing herself. I was really keen not to loose this momentum because I believe that if I can show Lilly that she can draw if she practices then she might just transfer that lesson to other activities. Just because you can’t do something YET doesn’t mean that you never will.
So to continue to try and help Lilly to believe in herself I have introduced her to Inktober, the 31 day drawing challenge that runs throughout October. I will be taking part myself and I believe that for Lilly to draw everyday will show her just how much she can improve by practice. She is very excited about it, she has designed her own sketchbook (she chose to have a kraft paper book) and she has even written out the Inktober 2017 prompts too.
I am so proud of Lilly for trying so hard. She is going to doubt herself along the way I am
sure but she is going to learn too. I am looking forward to seeing what she achieves. It is so hard to see her doubt herself before she tries something and I hope that I can teach her the value of trying, even if she makes mistakes, not trying at all would be the biggest mistake she could make. You can follow her artistic adventure throughout October on Instagram.
Thank you for reading, Love Samantha x