My mom and dad recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They’ll tell you and everyone they know that their biggest accomplishment in those 40 years was me (and, humbly, thank you). Let me tell you what my parents did right in parenting from my perspective. It’s very simple, they acknowledge my creativity.
I was at an event recently for the Creative Community for Peace that was honoring people in the music industry for their work in Israel. One of the honorees said something that really stuck with me. He was commenting on how it’s the parents and/or guardians that really build up (or breakdown) an artist. He said, “Can you imagine if John Lennon’s mother had pushed him toward being a doctor… and if he had actually listened to her?”
My parents never told me to go in one direction or the other. And they certainly never shunned my creativity, rather they signed me up for whatever creative endeavor I had interest in (dancing and singing being my top two). I remember when I was around ten years old and began expressing interest in singing. My dad overheard me practicing in my room. He later commented that I could sing professionally if I wanted to. Soon thereafter, I was in voice lessons… which lead me down the path to perform on local stages at shows and competitions. Then when I was 15, I sang in Carnegie Hall with my choir.
What if he had said something of the opposite, or nothing at all? I could have continued following a path to sing on stage as a career, but I knew I wanted to use my voice elsewhere. My youth spent in training, practices and up on stage certainly prepared me for what I would end up choosing to do with my life, which does include being on stage, sharing with people how I learned to love myself and live my best life.
My parents spent countless dollars and hours transporting me to and from the studio for nearly fifteen years. Those foundational years built my stamina, my persistence, and my courage. Who would I be without those years? And, who would I be with parents who didn’t acknowledge my innate need for expressing my creativity? We could all be John Lennon’s of some sort. My wish is that I will be able to parent my future children with as much attention to their talents as my parents were to mine.