Encourage the Arts in Children, and they’ll thank you as adults

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

While Picasso was probably talking about the art of drawing or painting, his words should be taken to encompass all the arts, including music, dance, and, of course, the written word, to name but a few.

Children are born with an affinity to the arts. They instinctively move to music, converse in sing-song tones, and will draw on anything (is there a parent who hasn’t been presented with a child’s crayoned masterpiece on the wall, or some important papers?)

For as long as I can remember I’ve encouraged my children’s creativity and artistic tendencies, even though each of my five children has leaned towards very different genres of art. My eldest is, like me, drawn to the written word. My second son is an incredibly talented musician, while my youngest son is skilled with graphic design. My youngest daughter has won prizes for film production and photography, and my oldest daughter is what most people consider an ‘artist’ to be; she draws beautifully. Out of all of them, I am the most in awe of her ability, because my drawing skills barely stretch to matchstick men, while her 13-year-old hands produce images like this drawing of an eye.

So, five children, brought up by the same parent in the same way, and each of them has found the art they’re most drawn to (no pun intended!)

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which of the arts a child feels more of an affinity towards, encourage it, nurture it, and let it grow. Research has proven over and over that children who are encouraged to express themselves through the arts grow into more confident, more creative, and more focused adults. Not only that, the arts help children develop the perseverance, dedication, and accountability required to ensure a strong personal and work ethic when that child enters adulthood.

And for that, they will thank you.

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