Victoria Prooday, a Toronto occupational therapist and blogger specializing in child brain development and neuroplasticity, recently cited some alarming statistics about skyrocketing childhood depression, ADHD and teen suicide rates. Calling it a silent tragedy, she attributed the problem to an epidemic of well-meaning but bad parenting. Her post has been read over 10 million times, proving to her that the dilemma is real and prevalent.
What does this have to do with art? Victoria says that over-indulgence in kids’ screen time and a lack of delayed gratification is a recipe for poor problem-solving skills and stick-to-it-ness — abilities that artists know as the backbone of creativity and that everyone understands as the cornerstone of coping with life in general. Apparently, failing at stuff is where innovation is born, and in order to extract and advance the magic of being alive through life’s triumphs and challenges, we all benefit from an acquired quality called grit. Here lies the ability to push through the agony of not getting what we want, not winning right away and figuring out how to do stuff well. Look no further than how a painting is made if you’re still wondering what I’m talking about.
Victoria mentions a mother who came for parenting advice and described her six year-old, who avoided activities he thought tedious and challenging, like puzzles, painting, writing, chores and reading. He chronically asked for help or gave up on difficult tasks. As a result, the poor little guy was completely missing out on the fun of doing hard things. Add to this that easy things, like putting on clothes and going outside, were becoming increasingly tough. “Work ethic is similar to a muscle,” wrote Victoria. “It can be strengthened with proper training or weakened with misuse.” For parents of toddlers, she suggested early hardwiring for grit by making them peel their own banana. Like the harrowing uncertainty at the beginning of the creative cycle and the euphoria and authentic self-esteem earned when an idea is finally built and realized, eating your banana is the reward for peeling it.
PS: “Magic mostly happens when we push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, work hard through challenges and boredom.” (Victoria Prooday)
“Not he who begins, but he who perseveres.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
Esoterica: Spoil your kids not with a bump-free ride, but with a generous supply of the essentials of creativity: art supplies, writing and musical instruments, sure. Plus limited instruction, lots of privacy, uninterrupted time and the opportunity for failure. Leave them alone. Victoria describes this entertainment and trophy desert as “boredom.” Like art, other screenless stretches like gardening, knitting, hiking and woodworking also ask for continuous effort and are littered with ready-made emotional snags and mistakes before anything satisfying happens. “The bad news is that kids’ work ethic is in a crisis and we, parents, have a lot to do with it,” says Victoria. “The good news is that with proper training you can improve your child’s work ethic.”
“Life is filled with tedious work, delayed gratification, challenges, and responsibilities. It is mostly about doing what is needed to get what is wanted.” (Victoria Prooday)
Location: between Puerto Vallarta & Mazatlan, Mexico
Week-long workshop in gorgeous paradise retreat for beginning and intermediate students in oils (or acrylics with experience). You will learn how to create a painting with beautiful light that captures viewers’ attention and keeps them fascinated. Small group size guarantees personal attention.
While you’re busy creating art and exploring, your friendly hosts at Casa Buena will ensure that your stay is memorable. Outstanding accommodations, food, and field trips will satisfy your desire for both comfort and adventure. Spouses are welcome!
For more info, visit: http://www.casabuenaartretreat.com/Retreat_Carol.htm or contact Carole at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 001-757-678-3340 (EST).
A professional painter in both watercolor and oil for over 35 years, I have been creating plein air workshops in Europe for artists to join me since 1996. Plein air is one of the most exciting methods of painting, and I teach a very easy to learn way of capturing the light quickly, that any artist can apply to their own work during our adventures to Europe. Travel for artists is a great way to immerse yourself in painting and make great advances in your techniques by watching other professionals work, and by sharing your own ideas with other artists we all grow! Authentic locations, such as a 12th Century Castle in Ireland, a French Maison in the countryside of France, or an Italian Villa in an historic hilltop village in Italy are carefully chosen. We want our artists and non-painting guests to feel relaxed and at home, with en-suite bedrooms, excellent chef prepared cuisine, and convenient transfers to painting and exploring locations so you can be where you want to be to create. Join me on our next exciting journey!