Dear Charley

What's Up with the Parents!

Jul 2, 2016

Dear Charley,
Just wondering if your parents ever tried to signed you up for clubs and stuff that you didn’t really want to do?

My Mom's always signing me up for stuff. I've been drawing cartoons and want to be a fine artist one day but she's like "STEM this-STEM that." But science and coding are not my thing.

I want to sign up for Art Club at my school but I can't because she says these other things will be "good for me."

How can I talk to her so she'll let me do the things I like?
Not yet Rembrandt

Dear Not Yet,
I think all kids growing up get pressure from their parents to take up things they don't want to. Look at me - my mom wants me to be a professional violinist like her, and Dad's all about "the future of the world is in cyber security," like him.

And I get that what they really want to do is make sure I'm successful. And this is what they know. Maybe it's the same for you.

There's a lot to unpack here, so hope you'll bear with me.

  1. Learning to be an artist is great! We need more cool art, and there are lots more options these days than ever. Painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, video, filmmaking, making murals—super cool!
  2. The other cool thing about art these days, is what you can do if you know a little coding. Like animation, anime, digital design, Jumbotron scoreboards. There's even 3D printing to create fashion or jewelry.
  3. Why does it have to be either-or? You could make, say, cartooning, your main thing, but also check out what, say, science has to offer. There are some very cool bio-artists who combine biology and art—and sell it online!
  4. There's another cool trend around eco-design. It's where artists, architects, and environmental engineers get to work on sustainable living and workplaces.
  5. And maybe none of that is for you. NO prob! Dive in to Art Club. Draw from Nature. Sketch and doodle. Mush around with some sculpey.

My advice: don't rule out the coding and science stuff, just because you aren't totally a computer geek. You should learn it, even if you decide never to do it. There's a reason many people want to change to STEAM (integrating Arts into STEM)!

Whatever you decide you're passionate about, show and tell your parents about that. And maybe talk about how you plan to make your dreams come true.

That's the main thing they want to know: that you have a plan.

As for me, I say, let your inner Rembrandt shine!

Your Partner in Time Travel,