Has anyone every told you that you are an inspiration? It's a pretty good compliment in my book. Who doesn't want to inspire others? I think that if you are passionate or enthusiastic about something, people naturally become interested. And if there is the least little bit of a spark in them, your passion can definitely fan that spark into a forest fire.
I am the last person writing the post for today, and when I read Kelly's and Tessa's contributions, I realized that both of their areas of inspiration have been fanned by me at one time or another. It came first through them seeing my own experimenting and enjoying art and fashion and through my encouraging them and believing in them through their personal explorations with both.
Moms are given a tremendous amount of opportunities to inspire their kids, and they are commissioned--in my opinion--to not take them for granted. For instance, a girl isn't just born with the confidence to wear an outfit made out of trash bags and duct tape, right? Somewhere along the way, someone needed to fan the spark of individuality, right?
It might as well be her mom, right?
One area in which I have shown a pretty impressive amount of enthusiasm and passion for over the years is homeschooling. I homeschooled for 14 years and then worked in a classical Christian school for 7 years. I returned to homeschooling 2 years ago. (Just to be clear, I showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for the Christian school during those 7 years as well.)
I guess it comes down to the fact that I am passionate about children being excited to learn--whatever that looks like. And I have naturally inspired others to be excited about it, too!
For many years, my mission in life was to encourage others to either follow their calling from God to homeschool their children or to breathe new life into their calling. I did this through a lot of one-on-one conversations and through the support group I started years ago. When my calling to homeschool ended, my identity took a huge hit. It took a while, but eventually, I was able to transition and take what I had learned into a different venue. And when I was once again called back to homeschooling, I was able to take what I had learned during my time in Christian school to influence my homeschooling.
I do get a fair amount of attention for the seemingly crazy things I do and the chances I take--after all I am a self-proclaimed risk-taker. But in the end, I am the most pleased when I see children loving to learn because of a project, a book, an adventure, or a bunny trail that we've experienced together or that I inspired them to experience for themselves. It's that glow in their eyes and those smiles that let me know that they, too, feel it-- the love for learning--and it feels great!
FLASHBACK: HOMESCHOOLING IN 2004
. . . because the theme was the sea
. . . and we lived in what used to be a school so it had drop ceilings
. . . and because trash bag jellyfish are awesome
. . . and they are even more awesome when they are flying
. . . while the baby eats chalk
(We were in the very early stages of renovation--stating the obvious. And in spite of the condition of the house, experiential learning was still my priority. Yes, it was.)
I also feel that Kelly's confidence to teach art--first at the Christian school and then in her very own studio--was gained (fanned) during our early years of homeschooling when I organized our yearly art festivals. Her fire definitely burned bigger and further than I ever thought it would.
I see the results of living life creatively in front of my children being played out day after day in their adult lives. And when I say that my homeschooling days were the best days of my life and my best parenting days, I truly mean it. It gave me the opportunity to fan some pretty big fires in a lot of lives.
Hopefully, our main goal as Christians is to inspire others to walk in and by faith. I hope that along the way, I have done that for my children and others as well.
For me, art is where I hope to inspire. My studio's goal is to instill the love of art in children. For seven years I have done art with other people's children. And I love it. I love watching them show their masterpieces to a parent. I love watching them splatter paint. I love watching them use oil pastels the first time. They have the ability to create without thinking. And make something amazing. Something that teenagers and adults can't do. We overthink and scrutinize every stroke.
Kids do not. They will draw with a sharpie not caring about erasing. They don't care if their head is shaped like potato. They make the sky red and their face green. And they are okay with it. They create. And love it.
I teach in a step-by-step manner. They do what I do. It makes for a successful art time and amazing art. It still looks different because they interpret it differently.
It always frustrated me when I got a kindergartener who couldn't use scissors because the parent wouldn't let them, or that there were families that didn't own paint or even markers because they may make a mess. So many kids would tell me they weren't allowed to use a Sharpie, and I'd have to convince them it was okay for art class.
Art is something that needs to be introduced early. Even if it is just crayons and paper at a level your kids can get to at any time. My four-year-old has a Pampered Chef utensil holder filled with Crayola twistables, Sharpies, scissors, and paintbrushes. He has a tray of watercolors, colored rice, and playdoh--all at his reach and ready to be used. Does it make for a messy area? Yes. Does it get old sweeping up rice? Yes. Do I love it? Yes.
I hope this inspires you to introduce your kiddos to art. Start small but don't be afraid to go big.
I think it's safe to say that I am best known for what I wear. Honestly, it's perfectly normal for me to show up in 70's bell bottoms or decked out in leather pants. I just don't have too much of a problem trying something utterly crazy with my clothes.
Because of my crazy style, I occasionally have people tell me that they found an outfit while they were shopping that they just knew I would wear. One of the best comments I have ever gotten was from our friend's eleven-year-old daughter, Zaley. When Zaley and her mom were out shopping she picked something off the rack and asked, "Do you think Tessa would wear this?" It cracked me up. She wasn’t the first person to be inspired to ask this, but she was definitely the youngest!
Sometimes people tell me that they could never pull off what I'm wearing, but the thing is, they probably could! My motto in life is walk with confidence even if you haven't the slightest idea what you're doing, and I try to let it manifest most in what I wear. So, if you love it and you think it looks great on you, walk out that door with confidence and you can pull off almost anything!
Hopefully, I will continue inspire others to dress well and with confidence---'cause who doesn't love a well-dressed, confident person? I know I do!
We would love to hear how you have inspired others! Share your comments below or on the Facebook page for all to see!