How Do We Measure Our Growth?

I drew this picture when I was a very young child.  It was for my grandparents.

I Drew It When I Was Probably 2.  But We'll Say 7.

I Drew It When I Was Probably 2. But We’ll Say 7.

I’m pretty sure art teachers every where are pretty impressed.   I know I see a lot of this picture that either scares me, or says I was brilliant.

Brilliant:  check out those awesome patterns in the clouds and trees.  Fairly impressive I am sure.

Scary:  a little too controlled?   (Me?).   Everything is leaning.   I am sure there is a meaning to that.  I thought about making something up but thought better of it.  You know how that goes.  If something is written on the internet it must be true.   Right?

I came across this drawing today and couldn’t help but wonder a few things.

I thought of my little self:

Sitting At The Very Home of the very Grandparents.

Sitting At The Very Home of the very Grandparents.

Shameless plug of how cute I was when I was little.  But, come on, it adds to the history of the story here if you can see the me of yesterday vs. the me of today (if you want to see the me of today look at the banner of my blog or check yesterday’s post).  Again, if that seems like a shameless plug to read more of my blog…just ignore me.  You don’t have to do what I say anyway.   (But if you do I won’t intentionally lead you astray.)

How do we measure our growth?  Our talents and our skills?  Our successes and failures?  To the child we were.   How do we measure it, and how would we measure up.

Just for fun I thought I would recreate the above picture.  How do my abilities and skills and talents measure up to the child that I was?

So I recreated the picture.   I thought I might make it a little more difficult.   No easy peasy crayons for me.   No, I shall use water colors.

Re-Created

Re-Created

I have come to a few conclusions.

Lesson #1.  Though I wanted desperately to break out of the lines holding in the colors….  I could not.  I could not allow myself to do anything different than the picture I drew as a child.  I was 7 then and I’m not 7 now.   I can’t even give myself permission to draw something different?  Be more creative?  Be less restrictive?

No.   Because my task was to recreate the picture.   I thought I would struggle trying to downgrade my ability to draw like I did oh so many years ago.  This leads us directly to….

Lesson #2.   There was no struggle.   Not to down play my ability.   I struggled to paint anything near as cute as the child’s drawing.  I was a little surprised that my abilities had not grown with me over the years.   Not in drawing anyway.   I know I can’t “draw”.   But I thought I would have a little bit better ability than what I had when I was 7.

To be clear on this:   I don’t.

Lesson #3.  I wanted to paint more freely and without lines than in the drawing.  This was kind of liberating.   That I wanted to be more free, more careless even.   But I didn’t challenge myself to take the same picture and do it more creatively.   Or to put my spin on how I could do it differently.   I wanted to pit my skills of today against my skills of yesterday.

Lesson #4.   There are some things you should not take from today and measure against yesterday. There are some things we can (that’s probably another lesson) but definitely some things we can’t.

Lesson #5.   I am still (sadly) jealous of others who have the skill to draw and paint.  You guys are super lucky.

Lesson #6.   The picture was valued by my Grandparents enough for them to save it.  They had plenty of grandchildren so I’m sure they saved many things.  But why this picture?  Maybe it was as simple as they liked the effort I put in to it.  They liked that I had thought of them.   The value wasn’t in the drawing.  It was the gift of the drawing.   The affection.  The value they found in me.

I don’t know how I measure up to the person the child me wanted the adult me to be.  I imagine that like the art work there are some things I’m no better at now than when I was a child.  Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the crayons or the paint, I’m just not good at it.  But I can still have fun with it.  I also imagine there are things that when I was a child, I never dreamed I would accomplish.   And yet here I sit all these years later in life being able to recognize that there are some things that I feel very good about in my life.

I can live with this.

Though I do wish I could draw/paint better.

Bonus Lesson:

Lesson #7.  Don’t scan water colored painting on your scanner when it is wet.

23 thoughts on “How Do We Measure Our Growth?

  1. I think you’re right – we should re-create the past – it’s a bit like going back to place what we have very special memories from … I think it’s best to leave good memories as they are … and cherish them.
    I think both your drawings are pretty awesome.

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  2. They saved it because they adored you, I’m sure. However, they also saved it because of the impeccable spelling. Way more advanced than 7, surely. Appropriately spaced, capitalized, good control over proper nouns, and consonant blends….a prodigy in the making! What do you reckon? Future blogger?

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  3. I’m so impressed that you drew it again…I would say you are brilliant! Textures, the leaning of the trees, possibly indicating wind. I too do not have the gift of drawing, but I love to do it. I draw like I’m a second grader….but it’s so fun. I’m amazed that who we are as kids, our personalities, are pretty much who we are as adults. What a great post.

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  4. I love discovering that something someone held onto for what reason, precisely? Oh, right. Love. Excellent set of lessons, but I would have given you #7 if you had called 😉

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  5. Oh boy, I loved this post! First of all I’m crazy about kid’s art so I absolutely love your childhood picture and the fact that your Grandparents saved it (I love that you wrote to Grandfather and Grandmother…so proper)! I also adore how you turned this into a life lesson…so intriguing and interesting! I never would have thought of doing such a thing. Also #7 was the icing on the cake….The perfect post…nostalgic, interesting and funny!!! Also little Colleen was just adorable and look at that fancy bracelet!!!!

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  6. I know I had made a comment a few days ago on this but don’t see it… Darn smartphone outsmarted this old fart… But wonderful story, Chatter Master. And there is still of lot of you today in that photo from yesterday. And your pondering about growth was fun to read as always.

    But being a man, I must say, “See. That is the difference between man and woman. You had to write a whole bunch of words to measure growth. Men would just use a tape measure.”

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