Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dreams and Child Rearing

How many of your favorite artists can you think of that grew up with an ideal childhood? I can't think of any. It makes me wonder something.

If traumatic/non-ideal/broken home environments create artists, then how do you rear a child in a loving environment and encourage them to be an artist if that's what they want to do? I say it's totally possible. I think encouragement to follow a dream is the greatest gift a parent can give to their child.

It was 85-86 and I was in 7th grade. I loved riding my skateboard. Tony Hawk was becoming a household name for skaters and he was just a couple years older than me. I watched him pull off incredible maneuvers in pools and half pipes in Southern California from my home in Southern New Mexico. We didn't have much of a scene at that time. We had one drainage ditch we could ride and had to look far and wide for a half pipe. We began building really crappy launch ramps and quarter pipes. We eventually built a half pipe in a friends grandmothers back yard. It was awesome. By this time it was summer before 8th grade and we spent that summer constructing this beast and skating it all summer long. However...

In Southern NM in the mid 80's you were considered a trouble maker if you rode a skateboard. Constant harassment from cops for crimes committed by gang bangers (another obstacle to avoid for us) and minimal support from the city (they would pour gravel down the side of the drainage ditches we would ride to keep us off of there)led us to pursue other avenues. Like drinking and drug experimentation. So instead of getting exercise and pursuing what would become one of the most popular of the extreme sports of today, we became degenerates.

Tony Hawk, on the other hand, and his friends were getting sponsored and supported and were travelling the world and today he has sponsors such as Club Med and Video Game companies and snack foods. As he rightfully should. He was the image of my childhood. The image of how, with the proper encouragement, love and support, a child can grow into the farthest reaches of his/her imagination.

Nourish your child's dream. Regardless of how far fetched it may seem to you, remember that you once were a child with a dream and that NOTHING is far fetched to the mind of an 8 year old. The worse thing you can do is cap or stifle a child's dreams.

Professional skater, musician, writer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, astronaut, cartoonist, actor, law enforcer, builder and on and on. All are legitimate. All exist. All are options for our kids. And for US. Because I have never stopped dreaming and don't plan to. Because without the dream, you wouldn't have seen me on stage playing my music, heard my songs on the radio or seen me holding my baby.

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