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First, a few facts: 1) I went to draw in the Auckland Art Gallery the other day. 2) My favourite section is the Victorian Art. 3) The paintings which sit in the central room just seem to calm me somehow. 4) There were more people than normal in the gallery that day.
I was standing there sketching, and because I can be shy whilst starting a drawing - I can't stand people looking over my shoulder, which is what people kept trying to do. so I'm standing in a corner quite stressed with my sketchpad clutched to my chest when a little boy came up and point blank asked me very quietly and unsurely "can I see?"
It all just melted away and I sat down and showed him, and explained what I was drawing, and gave him and his little brother some paper to draw with. And it turned into something much much better than other people watching, observing, judging me. I realized he was just as frightened of me saying "no, it's not for little kids" (or something else just as judgmental and untrue), as I was of people looking at my work and proclaiming it not worth their time, "why do you bother?"
And I realized that in turn comes from somewhere, from when we were young children at school saying those words, dismissing and invalidating us. Of being brushed-off as unimportant, be it accidentally, or pointedly. And I just think it's sad that when we grow up, 8 years later (or 12 or 15,) we still hear those comments when we ask ourselves "what will they think/say?"
But in the moments where we are able to let go of that, and reach out beyond our mind's defenses, well... That's when you make a child's day because they know they were important enough for the lady drawing in the art gallery to sit down and share her drawings, and paper, and encouragement with them.
I hope that those comments are what they remember in 8 years time.