When Your Art Feels “Ridiculous”

The other day Jesse came up to me with a solemn expression and made this confession:

“Mom, sometimes when I’m in the bathroom by myself, I make up little songs but then I say ‘That’s ridiculous!’ to myself. And I stop.”

Because this boy lives in a home that values creativity and celebrates all artistic expression, I cannot fathom where this critical response to his song-making came from unless it is the very enemy of his soul sowing lies in order to halt the progress of a would-be worshiper.

Though I was in the middle of cooking supper, I felt this was a crucial moment in my boy’s life, and the Lord prompted me to squat down and get eye level straight with him and take the time to root out these lies and replace them with some deep truths I’ve learned about art.

How even if your art is not ‘perfect’, the effort is a worthy act.

How we must practice our art, and even the clumsy beginnings are important.

I asked him if he thought his favorite Go Fish Guys wrote perfect songs when they were seven?

I asked him if it was ‘ridiculous’ for Lydia to reach for her toys, when her hand eye coordination is so imperfect?

And then (because words of affirmation are my love language and I was bursting with love for this little boy and because I’d gotten on a roll) I told him that I think he’s got talent in this area. I reminded him of how delightful his Chick-fil-a theme song was that he had composed that very afternoon. And I informed him that he has been writing songs since he was three and a half.

when your art feels ridiculous {a conversation with a seven year old songwriter)

I went to find his journal and we spent the next half hour in fits of giggles over the funny things he said and did when he was a young boy and finally I found the page where I’d recorded his first song.

“Just 10 days after he first learned to sing, Jesse composed his first song:

Me wish me be an angel
But me not have wings
Oh, goody, goody, goody
Me wish me be an angel
Or a princess
Oh goody goody goody
Me wish me be an angel today.”

His eyes were filled with wonder, a satisfying change from the shame and confusion I’d seen when he made his confusion earlier.

Oh, Lord, protect my boy from lies and fears that try to keep him from living his art and doing whatever it is that you made him to do!

To read about my little system for writing down the precious and hilarious things my kids say, you can visit this post published on Passionate Homemaking a few years ago. And if your art feels ridiculous, well, you need to read Emily Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways. I’m still chewing on it, you can read the review I wrote of the book last fall.

8 responses to “When Your Art Feels “Ridiculous””

  1. Barbie Avatar

    Oh how I love when the Lord uses our children to teach us lessons. I often think my art is ridiculous. I am the only artistic painter at our church who paints with her hands. It’s weird to get on stage during worship and finger paint, but it’s how God flows through me, since I have no clue what to do with a paint brush! I love how you spoke words of life to your little one and brought Him back to look at what He’s already done! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Grace Avatar
    Grace

    So sweet! Thank you for taking the time to speak so kindly into your boys life and build him up!

  3. Elisabeth Allen Avatar

    Beautiful. Thank you for this, Trina!

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  5. Jamie Wright Bagley Avatar

    Love this! Your son is already inspiring. He doesn’t have to wait till he grows up to bring people joy through his songs. I’m smiling right now, I like them so much. I’m so glad you are making words of affirmation a priority to encourage your little ones. And I love me a good ridiculous song, so it’s fine to write those, too, as long as the term is not dismissing/silencing but all in good fun. 😉

  6. Jessiqua Wittman Avatar

    Ohh! I’ve been thinking of this since you first posted it a couple days ago.
    It’s sooo easy to brush our children off when they speak aloud their insecurities. It’s easy to say, “Don’t talk about yourself like that. You’re a great composer, artist, etc.”
    But you didn’t take the easy way. You took the time to affirm your kiddo in a constructive way. And you taught them to actively seek and encourage the good in themselves.
    I’ve been inspired. This applies to children and adults and… myself. Thank you!

  7. Jessiqua Wittman Avatar

    Wow! This is so timely. I just wrote a blog post on this very subject today. I’m going to reference this great post in my post when I publish it, I think. Thanks!

  8. Gayl Avatar

    Trina, this is beautiful. I’m so glad you took the time to reassure Jesse that his art is important. I’m a big supporter of encouraging children and really listening to them. They have a lot to say and are deeper thinkers than we realize, sometimes. I’m also learning more and more to just step out and write or art journal even if it is sometimes a feeble attempt. We never know who is watching and who will be encouraged or comforted by our words or art. But even if no one else sees, God does and He blesses our efforts.

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