"Every Child is an Artist."
The Question is What Remains in Adulthood?

I have spent hours thinking and writing about connecting all the dots as I look back on my 72-years here on Earth. Steve Jobs said,

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

What Jobs said is correct. Indeed, I have not only connected the dots one to another but have networked many of the dots. Perhaps, you have to be old and have danced with death to experience what I have felt in the past couple of years.

Looking back on life, I have three adult children and a granddaughter who is a sophomore in college. As they grew up, I loved, laughed, and played with them. However, two new grandchildren came into my life...Jack who is 4½ and Owen who is 2½. Life is seen differently today than it was seen decades ago.

I can explain part of the difference. Seven years ago, I danced with death twice. My first dance was due to prostate cancer. The other dance was due to a subdural hematoma, which was the result of falling off a ladder and hitting my head on a stone wall. Those two dances convinced me that I am not immortal as I once thought when I was younger.

As Jack and Owen begin their journey in life, I love, laugh, and play with them also. However, there is an urgency of time, which I never felt before. Interestingly, when Jack was 3-years old, I was teaching an art history class online while babysitting for him. He wanted to know what some painting was that was on the desktop. I told him and off he toddled only to return asking about another painting that was on the desktop. Thus began what we now call Jack and Owen's college level curriculum, The Arts and Science.

The Arts and Sciences

The Fighting Temeraire

Jack and I ponder Turner's The Fighting Téméraire while Owen points to the "boat."

Langlois Bridge at Arles

Owen and Jack are learning about van Gogh's Langlois Bridge at Arles.

I recalled reading that Pablo Picasso believed that we are all are born with artistic creativity. He wrote, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Society has a way of stunting creativity and the quest for learning in general that a small child has innately.

Case in point: there was a young girl in the 1930s who was in grade school in England. Her name was Gillian. The school told her mother that she was a problem child. They told her to take Gillian to a specialist who might be able to treat her for some type of learning disorder. Gillian could not concentrate and fidgeted all the time in class. Consequently, she was not doing well in school.

Gillian's mother did as she was told and took Gillian to a specialist dealing with educational problems of children. The mother, Gillian, and the specialist sat together in his office listening to the mother recount all the problems associated with Gillian...who could not sit still in her chair. After a long interview with the mother, the specialist told Gillian that he and her mother needed to talk in private but would be back shortly. As he and her mother left the room, he turned on the radio, which was on his desk to a music station. They left the room but stood at the slightly opened door and watched Gillian.

Gillian, hearing the music, got up and danced around the room...happy as a lark. The specialist told the mother that Gillian was not sick but needed to be enrolled in a dance class. Gillian moved to the music; she moved to think. The mother did again what she was told. Fortunately, Gillian was soon dancing, moving, and thinking.

Now, the mother could have ignored the advice...and Gillian, her mother, and the entire world would not have known one of the greatest dancers and choreographers in the 20th and 21st centuries, Gillian Lynne.

Gillian Lynne

Gillian Lynne

From that first day in a dance class, Gillian Lynne began to soar. At 16, she performed Swan Lake and was hired at the Sadler's Wells Ballet. Before long, she starred at the London Palladium, in films, and on television. Gillian not only could dance, but she could also excel as a choreographer. She linked up with Andrew Lloyd Webber and did the choreography for Cats.



Then she worked again with Andrew Lloyd Webber in The Phantom of the Opera.

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera

I read in an article about Gillian Lynne that over 130-million people saw her choreography in The Phantom of the Opera. That was indeed a pretty good accomplishment for child with a learning disability and who fidgeted all the time.

In our small way, we need to keep the creativity of the young still burning throughout their lives. Do what you can to address Pablo Picasso comment and concern, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." We all will be enriched in that process.

Jack is creating his artistic masterpiece.

Owen is completing his artistic creation, The Two Gobblers.

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Connecting the Dots

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