So Your Child Wants to be an Artist? Relax, Don’t Worry

You want your child to lead a happy and successful life. How you interpret success and happiness may vary widely, however. How your child interprets these words and the feelings represented by them may vary even

For many families, success is defined in terms of financial success, but even financial success can mean a lot of different things as well.

What parent wants to see their child struggle to pay the rent or put food on the table?

It may not be that your vision of financial success means your child having a six-figure income, but it probably includes them living on their own without needing regular influxes of cash from Mom and Dad in order to survive.

So what happens if your child comes to you and tells you that they want to be an artist? What thoughts begin racing through your head?

Are you excited glad that they have something they’re passionate about, knowing that their talent will carry them? Or are you concerned that they’ll be living in a hovel and face daily struggles for safety and survival?

For hundreds of years, parents have had to face the idea of their children pursuing the arts. Despite the risks, parental protests, and even the threat of being financially cut off, many of these children still choose to follow their hearts.

Some artists have a passion for the arts, but aren’t able to pursue their dreams until later in life. Other children are determined to follow their dreams earlier, with or without parental support or approval. Parents may disapprove entirely of a career in the arts or may only approve if their child fits within a specific mold.

Paul Gauguin followed several careers in order to first please his family and then his wife’s family. He had to return to painting full-time several times in his life. It was in his nature and part of his core being that had to be expressed despite the challenges that it created.

Painter Édouard Manet’s father was adamantly opposed to his son having a career in art to the point where Manet left for Paris to pursue his dream while still in his teens.

Singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson’s parents disowned him when he turned down a position to teach literature at West Point in order to devote himself to songwriting.

Katy Perry fashioned her musical career even though it still isn’t in harmony with her parents’ religious careers as evangelical Christian pastors and musician Miles Davis wasn’t met with approval of his choice in career. It was just that his mother thought he ought to play a stringed instrument rather than the trumpet. His father hoped he would become a dentist.

Fortunately, all of these artists persevered and have created art that’s influenced countless others and these are only a few examples.

Will your child struggle and suffer? Will their career soar or flounder? Is it a good idea for them to have a Plan B in case their art career fails? Or would it be smart for them to take another job and pursue music in their free time? Would a job in the field or something related to their field be as fulfilling and safer?

You can’t know what the absolute best path for anyone else is even if that other person is your own child. What you can do is tap into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) and encourage your child to tap into theirs as well in order to help discover their best path.

Whether your child will becomes rich and famous in their lifetime is uncertain. Are the odds in their favor? Maybe not. If you worry about it, it probably won’t make one bit of difference. And if you encourage your child to abandon their dreams in exchange for financial security, they may never find the one thing you want them to find in life: happiness.

If you can leave your personal preferences aside and let joy be your guide, then you’ll find the right path. Passing this ideal onto your prospective artist is the best thing you can do for them.

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Traveling with Children

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or are new to the rigors and adventures that traveling brings, traveling with children is a very different experience then traveling solo or with other adults. That isn’t to say that it should be avoided. Taking your children on trips can be great for the entire family. To ensure that the trip is as enjoyable as possible for everyone concerned, it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind.

Schedule play dates

Traveling gives you the opportunity to teach your children about other cultures, nature, and to visit a variety of museums and educational attractions. That’s all fine and can give your children an advantage when they get back to school, but it can also be exhausting or even boring when overdone.

Remember that your children are still young and that this is also a time for fun.

Allowing for scheduled breaks from traveling, toting luggage, and learning will go a long way towards your children’s enjoyment of the adventure.

Consider having a rest day now and then, especially if you’re traveling for extended periods. Not only is this a good chance for the children to release some pent up energy, it can be a healthy break for everyone.

When planning your itinerary, seek out some places that give the children time for their own version of R&R. Whether they love amusement parks, playing at the beach, climbing trees, cooking, the arts or any other specific outdoor activities, you can incorporate some of their favorite pastimes into the schedule.

You may discover some fun activities for them that are also different and new. Sometimes these fun adventures become the highlight of a trip, especially when it’s new for the entire family.

Gather family input

Traveling is a lot more fun when you get to have a say in where you’re going and what you’ll see. Any time you leave home, you’re facing change, which can be scary. New sights, sounds, and smells bombard you from all directions. Different foods challenge even the most adventurous eaters. Learning different customs and dealing with different forms of currency or different languages can be daunting and confusing.

Consider discussing your ideas for a trip with the entire family. Allow each member to have time to talk about what they’d like to experience most. Don’t be surprised if this conversation takes place over several family meetings as the idea starts to sink in. Let your children know it’s okay to express their concerns as well as what excites them about the upcoming adventure.

If your family has children whose ages vary widely, don’t be surprised to hear very different suggestions. They may seem like they’re incompatible, but with a little creativity, you’ll probably be able to incorporate a little something for everyone.

Pack a few extras, but not too much

Allow your children to bring something that’s comforting to them. For a young child, that might be a favorite toy to play or sleep with. Older kids might want their electronics in order to keep in touch with friends.

You’ll want your children to have appropriate clothing and shoes for whatever you have planned. Some children will need your guidance as to what’s appropriate, especially if you’re traveling abroad.

Also keep in mind that most places in the world carry just about everything you’ll need, so it’s okay to pack the minimum amount of things. When you do this, it keeps your luggage lighter, making traveling a lot more fun and leaves room for some souvenirs.

Encourage your children to create memories along the way. This may be in the form of taking photographs, collecting postcards, or writing in a journal. Think about bringing a blank journal for each child so they can write things down or slip in something to trigger a memory later.

Be willing to shift gears

So you’ve settled on a plan. You have your tickets, your itinerary, your bags are packed, and you’re on your way. All is going well and the family seems to be having a good time.

Then suddenly, it isn’t going so well.

Things happen, especially when you’re traveling. Be open to the idea that you might have to shift your schedule a bit. Perhaps you tried to get too many things into the day and people are feeling burned out. Maybe there’s more togetherness than you’re used to and there’s a need for some elbow room. It could be that your days are starting too early or ending too late and the children are short on sleep. Are your children overstimulated with all the new and different things surrounding them?

When you hit a bump in the road, it’s the perfect time to revaluate and see if you need to modify the plan. You might need to add a day of rest and forego seeing a museum or cultural event. Or you might just want to juggle the itinerary. Sometimes the spontaneous rest days that take advantage of what’s right there in front of you will be the most memorable of the entire trip.

Set your intention to have fun.

Your mood and energy can go a long way to setting the tone for the entire family. You’ll have a much better chance of achieving the goal of having a fun-filled day if you wake up with that intention rather than dreading any hiccups that may occur.

Traveling with your children can be a wonderful adventure. Let yourself experience it and be fully present with your family. Just as you want your children to connect with the adventure and with you, be sure to connect with them as well.

Keeping these tips in mind you can create a lifetime of memories. Hopefully you’ll be able to establish a pattern of fun traveling together as a family — even if things don’t always go exactly as planned.

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