‘Nice try, but I think you should really forget about the drawing part!’, ‘Hahaha is it a human figure? It looks like, well…’ ‘Your throat is so sore all the time, are you sure your parents are singers?!’
You hear all these comments while you’re growing and learning something, anything, and that’s it! Fear grips you so easily. What will people say? How will they react? Will I make a fool of myself? These questions stop you in your tracks, again and again, you start to escape from the very things you love. You are convinced, it is not for you. That you are not made for it and it is better to stay away!
But becoming a mentor to children means keeping the student in you alive, forever. It means to explore new things, while keeping your inhibitions at bay. It means, to work on yourself and update yourself continuously, and to work on your fears. Only then would we be able to encourage the children. Only then would we practice what we preach.
As a child I had completely lost faith in myself with regards to art. Ask me to dance and I would do it confidently but art, craft and singing were things I used to run away from. I did manage to overcome my fears regarding singing. And by now, many compliments have come my way. The biggest joy for me is when children ask me to sing because they feel their Didi’s voice is therapeutic. Drawing and craft, however, remained my biggest fears. I used to feel extremely nervous when I had to do any art activity in class, as I was sure I would never be any good at it.
But if you give up, then that’s what the children will learn from you. As a mentor at Touching Lives, teaching involves creativity. Among other things, it involves folding papers into shapes, and it involves crayons, paints, and drawing. So of course, I had to practice it first. So I did it and slowly realized that I’m not that bad at it at all. In fact with little practice, I got pretty good. As continued exploring, I also felt that I do not have to be expect myself to be great at all of it. During our art sessions in class, I was once explaining to my children that art is within us. It has many aspects and not all of us are good at all of them but surely there can be at least one thing in which we can be good even great, with practice. With these words in my mind, even I too went on exploring. I realized that I may not be amazing at memory drawing but I had a very good design and color sense. I love making designs and they are beautiful even. My mother is still shocked to watch me paint, color or scribble designs in my drawing book because she had given up on encouraging me to draw. It’s great to see my children, who are good at it, teach me.
Children enjoy teaching their teachers, it makes them feel good about themselves.
A small discouragement can sometimes affect so much but then if you have that environment of acceptance and encouragement it’s easy to connect back to your hobbies and creativity. I remember making cards for everyone, as a child, as I had a beautiful handwriting. I still do, but then due to years of being ridiculed and judged, I somehow just forgot that art within me.
I am not perfect with my skills but I’m glad that at least, I try to explore it now. Art can never be perfect but it is a beautiful form of expression that I had denied myself for years. It’s important to find it within you.
If I was not a mentor probably I would never have explored it. I have learnt never to discourage someone for their imperfections, while they are learning, it takes away the wish to learn from them.
We all have all forms of art within us, we just have to look for it. I know I have a long way to go but the journey has definitely started and I am extremely excited about it.
Parina joined Touching Lives this year as the mentor of Foundation Class. She has done her Masters in Psychology and is a student and performer of Kathak. Lucky for her children, she has grown by leaps and bounds, and is always encouraging her children to do the same.