I’ve told you that “I love you” thousands of times, and I hope to tell you thousands more.
I wish that I could already know your dreams. Not the kind that play like a movie in your subconscious while sleeping, but your life dreams. I wish I had a preview into what your life’s passions will be. I wish I knew what career you might pursue. I wish I knew what talents that you will have, and need nourishment and encouragement. I wish I knew, because it excites me so much to be a part of those dreams. To aide in any way I can. Your dreams are just as important to me as my dreams are, if not way more. Yeah, way more actually.
Here is a little story about your mom. She had hidden talents that not even she knew she had lying dormant in her mind, soul, and body. I am sure by now – at the time you are reading these—you know that your mother is an incredible painter. A one of a kind artist. That creative talent was unknown until shortly after I met your mom.
Here’s a little background on hers and my artistic endeavors. Your mom had quite the collection of pencil drawings when I met her. She drew many things from animals, barns, anime people, and abstract things. She was pretty good, not great, but loving to draw myself, I saw talent begging to be released in her work.
I did not learn of my own drawing talent until taking a college art class. Through the entire semester, I struggled to impress myself, let alone my teacher or peers. I was well below average… until my final project. My professor threw a bunch of objects on a platform, and told us to take a seat anywhere around the pile. He said to draw what was in front of us. Something finally clicked for me, and the practice and techniques flowed like lava downhill. There was no stopping it. This picture was the result:
It’s not perfect, but it showed that I had talent. I knew where it came from, which was my Father Mark. He is an incredibly talented artist with a pencil, but sadly never pushed himself, or was ever pushed. So, his talent has truthfully stayed exactly where he left it… at its beginning stages. Yet, whether he knows it or not, he inspired me to be better than him. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I was competing with myself and the doubt that I was as good or better than my father at this talent. He definitely inspired me. Here is a picture of his work (Sorry- no close ups):
Anyways, I could tell your mother was super talented, but her drawings were so line heavy like tattoos. Her shading work needed a lot of work, but she was good and didn’t know it. She might have felt it, but knowing her would push those feelings way done in disbelief.
I challenged her on a few drawings, and saw some pretty cool results. For the record; as much as I would love to take credit for your mother’s talent, it is hers and hers alone. She just needed support, and to believe in herself which is what I hope to do with you and whatever hidden talents you may have.
It was not until she started painting, that the explosion happened. An explosion of artistic growth. An unleashing of caged talent. I had bought painting supplies and attempted my first painting… it was terrible. My first painting:
I told her she should paint something while I was at work for the day. I set up the easel and canvas, with the brushes and paint tubes lying next to it on the table. I came back home later that day and found her first painting. I was blown away, and really embarrassed at my first painting. Really embarrassed. Hers was not the best thing I had ever seen, but for her first painting it was incredible. Her hidden talent was ready to burst. This is when I started an onslaught of encouragement, and gentle nudging to paint more. I kept pushing her past self-imposed boundaries and limits. Her talent was growing at an alarming rate. At the time I write this, she has hated every painting that she has ever painted. She sees the flaws and room for improvement, but others are more and more blown away with each piece. Here is a little progression:
Her paintings are starting to sell like crazy now, and her effort with each one is less burdensome with each new piece. She’s incredible. With her growing talent, and successful results, she has begun to allow the possibility of a dream to grow that she previously ignored. In her mind, her dream was not worthy of pursuit because she did not believe in herself. She is starting to dream. She might achieve her dream, which is to be a full time artist, doing nothing but selling the beautiful pieces of art that she creates.
She’ll get there. I know she will. I believe in her. I’ll help in any way possible.
As for me, my talent in drawing (I have very little in painting), is one that is in my back pocket. I’ll probably pull it out from time to time, but it will never be my main focus. I love to write. It’s my dream to be an author of the many books that are floating in my head. Your mother nourishes my dream and pushes me the same way I did her. I too am flooded with doubt. I constantly think that I have no talent in this arena and that I am embarrassing myself. I get comments and words of encouragement that chip away at that doubt, but it’s hard to let my wall down. My defenses against the pain of failure are strong.
Yet, pursuing this dream makes me happy. So happy! Even if I don’t achieve my dream, plenty of good has come from it. Without this dream, I wouldn’t have written you these letters. I will also finish my first novel, and even if it never gets published, I will have done something that so many people have failed to do; I will have finished writing a novel. I’ll write another after that one, and another after that one, because I would be miserable if I let this dream die. Dreams are hope. Dreams are vital to ALL cultural and societal progress. It is about making ourselves and this world a better place to live. It’s about leaving this world better off than when we were here.
Here is my advice to you Sweetheart:
Dream bigger than you want to.
Too many people dream to small, and are unsatisfied when they achieve it. Dream big, and do everything you can to achieve it. If I make my dream to write only one book, then I probably won’t even write that one book. But, if I make my goal to write 10 books and do everything I can to achieve that, then for sure I’ll write at least one book, and probably 8-20 books. What if I dream to become a NY Times best seller? What if I took crazy action to achieve it? Great things will most likely happen, even in the event of possible failure. So, dream bigger than you are comfortable with and work like crazy towards achieving it!
Do ten times the amount of work to achieve your dream than you think it will take.
People too often have dreams and barely do anything to achieve them. If you want to achieve your dream, whatever it is, you better do ten times the amount you think it will take to achieve it. Trust me on this… and your dreams WILL come through.
Make sure to surround yourself with people who nourish your dreams and encourage them.
Us dreamers are always filled with doubt. That doubt can cause a lot of people to quit and give up on their dreams. You need people in your life that push you, help you grow, and give you encouragement to push past the self-doubt. It will be the thing that makes or breaks your dream.
It’s okay to fail, because you will… at first. Let it be fuel to your dream fire.
We all fail. We’ve all had dreams and goals not reached for multitudes of reasons. It happens. Some of the most successful people in the world have a long list of failures in their pursuit of success. Expect failure from time to time. Embrace it as a wonderful tool. You can, if you let yourself, learn more from failure than you can from success. Just don’t give up (refer to #3), and keep pushing towards that amazing and awesome dream of yours.
I am sure many parents think this, or feel this way about their kids, but I think you are bound for greatness. I’ve had this feeling for a long while now. I think you will do great things with your life. All I can say is that I am super excited to be a part of your life. I will always encourage your dreams to be big. I will push, or gently nudge you in order to help you grow. I will support you as best as I can, in every way that I can.
All you have to do is to dream big!
Then run towards that dream like it is the only thing keeping you alive.
I love you more than I knew I could.
None other than,
In case you missed one in the series: