By: Mia L. Hazlett
One of the things that is most important to me for my children is their education. I was overly confused when I first sent my oldest to school because I was given about 10 choices for schools. When I grew up, you went to the one elementary school, middle school, then off to high school. But she was given choices and I had to Google, research, visit, and compare stats before I settled on what school deserved to participate in my child’s academic upbringing. Coming from a family of teachers, I relied heavily on their opinions also. So I chose a school that best fit my daughter’s needs and all that I deemed important for her academic rearing.
But coming from a family of teachers and working in education myself, my daughter was not introduced to school when she first arrived on school grounds at the age of five. I began reading and playing music for her when she was in the womb. Flash cards consumed my house and car because I was so eager to teach her. One of the lessons I didn’t know that I was passing on to her was a love for art. I worked at an art college and would bring her to work with me from time to time. For her, that’s what her definition of education was. Her visits would consist of sitting at the table behind me while drawing and painting pictures. The students would sometimes join her, or take her off to the different galleries in the buildings. For me, I was at work and trying to raise my daughter at the same time – that whole work-life balance game. But for her, I was exposing her to the world of art.
She became a fan of craft stores. When she would make something at home, she wanted me to bring it to work to show the students. She would constantly ask me if it had been displayed in one of the galleries. It wasn’t just my job where she began to fall in love with art, but at home, she constantly witnessed me writing and trying to sketch the pictures to my children’s books. Instead of reading at night, we would sit on my bed and I would tell her stories, eventually she began to tell me stories. I constantly had her thinking out-of-the-box. I had her tapped into her creative side and to this day I have only encouraged the artist within her.
I really didn’t comprehend how important art was to her until she received her report card about a month ago. Her grades were wonderful. I couldn’t be happier. But I have raised a daughter that wants to be a teacher. She pushes herself when it comes to her academics and prides herself on her good grades. I asked her what was wrong as I reviewed the report card trying to find why she was wearing a scowl. “Mommy do you not see my Art grade? A 2 mommy. I got a 2 in Art. I love to draw and that is my favorite thing to do. How can I possibly get a 2?”
I truly wanted to blow it off and say, “it’s just art,” but I had to realize that’s what’s important to her. I raised her with art and given her a hobby at a very young age. This was the first school she ever attended that offered art as part of its curriculum. The other kids in the school system had art from the time they were in Kindergarten. This was her first year. I reminded her of the college I used to work at and told her those students studied art. There are concepts around art that are more than just picking up a marker or paintbrush and doing what you feel like. I’m not sure if I got through after our conversation, because she still wore a frown. But last week she came to me and told me she needed to get some art books and really study colors. She received her test back and didn’t do so well. “I never thought I would have to study art, I thought I could just do it.” I told her, “Well if it’s important to you and you want to do it well, you need to study for it just like your other subjects.” “Well I definitely don’t want to get another 2.” Never did I think I would have to push the studying of art. But I am so proud she’s found a passion at such a young age.