When I was little, and I tried anything artistic, my mother would pretty much light up and tell me how great it was. (By the way, if you have kids, I highly recommend you do that. But don’t fake it. Kids know when you’re lying.)
Anyway, my mother meant it and it was very validating. I knew she meant it because I’d tried other things that had nothing to do with art, and she wouldn’t really discourage me from doing those things, she just didn’t light up the same way.
About twelve years ago I began painting and then took art classes and I got pretty good at it. When I sent samples to my mother, she flipped out and wanted to see more.
More recently when I called her and told her that I was almost done writing a novel, I could hear her breath catch and she said, almost in a whisper, “Oh, I’d love to read it. You’ll send me a copy, won’t you? Oh, this is so exciting. You know how much I love to read! And to think, we’ll have a writer in the family!”
I hadn’t even finished writing my first novel and she envisioned me hitting the best-sellers list.
And that right there is what I call good parenting.
© 2010 Christina Moss