Betty J. Slade
One of the reasons I write is to give fellow artists and writers understanding and permission to be who we are. So many times we look to our children for approval and understanding, they want to understand but they can’t until they are older.
As a random thinker I kept my household stirred up with fun and art projects, few boundaries and little push on the academics. It is good that I didn’t have a choice to home school. I would have had them at art galleries, museums and doing art projects.
Was it that much fun for my children? I thought it would be interesting to interview my grown children and get down to the nitty gritty of the truth.
My second daughter who is also a random thinker said it was easy, but did not feel a lot of security.
“It used to drive me crazy when I came home and the house was re-arranged. I think it bothered me because I don’t like to think about things. There was always a party and it helped my social life but not my grades. I could have probably done better because I was capable of doing better. But I have always had jobs that I love. I work at things that I like. I am happy.”
“I learned that no project is too big. I live with a rock – a concrete person, he does not move easily and that is hard. But I flow easy and that helps. As I have gotten older I feel that I have become more balanced. I now have two boys, one concrete and one random. I am trying to understand them and give them space for being who they are.”
It was very hard on our oldest daughter, who is an achiever and is very concrete. She pushed her way through school into college and got her degree in Accounting. I always felt that she had a hard time belonging in our family but I consoled myself that we were good for her, only if she didn’t have a nervous breakdown in the process.
So I asked my oldest daughter to write some things down about being concrete in an artistic household. Being concrete, she took to the computer and wrote these words.
“This subject has been discussed much in our household. The concrete person searches for a calm, quiet, serene place in the midst of the best party of the season. Artistic people are often on a roller coaster ride. They tell anyone who is listening that “we are having so much fun. Aren’t you having fun? Put your hands up and enjoy yourself!” A concrete person is always hanging onto the bar wondering when the ride will end and searching for the nearest exit because they need solid ground beneath their feet.
The concrete person sees life as it is and the artistic person sees life as it could be. An artistic person has more colors than will fit into the box of 64. In addition to the primary colors of red, yellow, blue, they have metallic, speckled, shades, fluorescent, etc. The concrete person prides themselves on living a simple life without all of the “fluff” required by the artist. They only need two crayons in their box: black and white with an occasional gold or silver for excitement.
The world of the concrete person requires rules and structure. They operate best when life is dependable and always the same. For a creative person, rules seem more like suggestions. They encourage everyone to color outside of the lines. The creative person lives in a world that is always changing, never the same, they are growing and there is always excitement.
An artistic person has wings to fly away as soon as they see an open window. The concrete person is stable and always has a foot firmly planted on the ground.”
My concrete daughter married a concrete thinker and they have two artistic children. She is trying to be understanding when the art projects are on the dining room table. And there is also the temperamental personality that comes into play.
Could we do it all over again and do better? We think we could, but we would just do it the same way. That’s who we are, we are artists. Good news, our children learn to forgive us. Hopefully we have given them insight into life in a different way.
“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality.” Frida Kahlo
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