My 5-year-old came to me with the idea of setting up her own Art Sale in the front yard. I cringed a bit. I didn't want her to be disappointed if no one bought anything. I absolutely love her art, but let's face it, I'm biased. But her little face was soooo excited. And she worked so hard coloring several original pieces just for this event. I so badly wanted her to sell something. Even just one thing I kept thinking. But Lemonade Stands in the summertime are so much more common. An Art Sale in October? Who's going to stop for that? I will admit it, I was worried the whole thing would be a bust and she would be left disappointed.
She set up two little tables at the end of our driveway right around the time of evening when neighbors would be arriving home from work. She carefully placed each piece of art for display. She even decided on pricing all by herself. Some pieces were $1.50, and some were $2. "Some are my better work", she concluded. She then set up a chair and patiently waited. I was chewing my nails, as many cars whizzed by. "Someone please stop!" I kept thinking.
Just as I was giving up and was thinking through my speech to her about facing disappointment, our neighbor Mr. Brennamen stopped his car and got out. He has always been so engaging with our children. He enthusiastically surveyed the table as she watched with giddyness. "I'd like to buy that one for my daughter." he said. He chose the one of the Painter's palette full of paint splotches.
I stood there with a mixture of stunned delight, pride in my daughter, and gratefulness for Mr. Brennamen's kindness. She had made a sale! And I had been proved a hypocrite. For the next hour, more neighbors stopped to buy her art. Each one commenting on how fun they thought the whole thing was. There was even one lady who had passed by while jogging and came back later with money in hand after we had closed down and she had finished her jog. She rang our doorbell as I was making dinner. She explained to us that her kids are all grown now but was so impressed with her young entrepreneurial spirit. She handed my daughter a $5 bill and chose two pieces that hadn't been sold yet. She said she planned to display them in her office. We had never met this woman before.
I learned something that day. I know people stopped to buy art from my daughter more out of generosity and kindness, than out of a need for a colored piece of printer paper. But the fact remains... it's a beautiful sight to watch a little girl set up a tiny table in her driveway. And sit there expectantly. With confidence and eagerness to share her gifts with the world. She told me that God made her an artist. How could I have considered stifling that? I want to be a Mom that encourages my children to live the life God has planned for them! I want to be a praying Mom that recognizes glimpses of Christ in her children. And whether she sold a single piece of art or not. - I must give her opportunities to shine and know what it feels like to be walking in her giftedness.
Mamas - let your babies shine. Let them try things and fail. Let them feel the satisfaction of success that comes after much hard work. Give them opportunities to be seen and heard in your community - whether that be an art show, or writing a letter to your local representative. Be their biggest cheerleader. Give them a voice and a stage and a reminder of who they are in Christ.
I love how motherhood teaches me more than I could ever teach my kids.
You can find more from Bri at her blog, Woven, where she loves to mix photography and words to journal about her favorite topics including faith, intentional motherhood, and living an artful life.