“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso
Although the attribution of this quote to Picasso is in doubt, the truth is not. I was talking with a friend about Shubham Banerjee, a 13-year-old boy who invented a Braille printer using his Lego Mindstorm system. He made it, he said, because he read that Braille printers cost around $2,000 and he thought it would be nice if blind people could have a more affordable way to write notes and shopping lists. His Lego version cost about $350. The people at Intel were so impressed they are funding development of a commercially available product.*
My friend remarked he did it because no one told him he couldn’t. And that gets back to the Picasso remark. When is it that we cease being artists? There is a talmudic commentary on a poem by Isabella McCullough that reads:
Every child is a poet.
Every child is an artist.
Every child is a philosopher.
Every child is a theologian.
Every child is an actor.
Every child is a dancer.
Every child is a nature-lover.
Every child is an explorer.
Every child is a comedian.
Every child is a skeptic.
Every child is a teacher.
Every child is a boundary pusher.
Every child is a truth speaker
Again, when do we cease being poets or dancers or boundary pushers or truth speakers? Sometimes we can remember. Someone told us we didn’t do that activity very well. Someone told us it wasn’t appropriate. Someone told us boys (or girls) “didn’t do that.” Or they laughed at us, or ignored us.
Even now, we might hold back from doing something because we are afraid to do so. We are afraid to us our God-given abilities. We might be called to preach or teach, to praise God with music or writing. For years I was afraid to sing in public because my parents told me I had an ugly voice. They lied. I loved to sing, and when people told me I had a good voice, it was a joy to share it in church.
Trust your heart. Spread your wings. Be the poet, artist, dancer, teacher, singer, truth speaker you were meant to be. God will be there guiding and supporting your every effort.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
Dear Creator God: We thank you that you have made us so wonderfully. Help us be like children, confident in the gifts with which you have blessed us, and reflect your grace and glory to the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.