Life lessons can come at us from all directions. From a book, a movie or an event where we experience an Aha! moment. The life lessons that I love the most are the ones that come from our children. When they say something that resonates with you, and you are amazed that they can teach you this. Well, last weekend this happened to me. My 3 youngest children were having a drawing competition on a Sunday afternoon, and they asked their big brother to be the judge of their artwork. He took the role seriously, and gave them his honest opinion. He said what he liked and what he didnt like. First he judged his sisters and then he turned to his brother. He complimented his drawings and said he really liked them. But he felt like his brother had drawn what he thought the judge would like, and not what he actually liked. He then said ” you need to find your own style, and find your own voice. Don’t draw what you think I will like, draw what you like”.
Blow me over with a feather! Seriously! Where did he learn this knowledge? How does he know this when I have been struggling with this? What really struck me, when I thought about it, is that my eldest son does listen to his own voice. He has his own style, which is not trendy and modern, but more vintage. His favourite shoes are what we lovingly call his “Grandpa shoes”, and he wears them because he likes them. His own style. His own voice.
My youngest son did not win the drawing competition, and he accepted it with grace. And while they moved onto the next game, I was left thinking about me and my voice. It is there, and I know what I love. In this world of social media with news feeds of gorgeous images flooding your screen, it is so easy to compare. To feel that self doubt start to creep in and take over our thoughts. To share what we think other people will like and not what we love. To share my style and my voice.
One Saturday morning, my daughter dressed herself in her sister’s dress which is two sizes too big for her. She put a bow in her unbrushed hair, and then she asked me if she could sweep out the garage. I looked twice at her costume, and said “Sure!” with a big smile on my face. She swept and sang to herself, and with our garage filled with left-over boxes, it felt like a scene from a Disney princess movie. Her style, and her voice.