I admit, I am a sucker for picture books. And every time I read “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds, I cry. If you are not familiar with this story, I recommend you give it a read (it’s a children’s book, it will take you like 10 minutes, seriously.)
I’ll give you a very brief synopsis: A girl thinks she “is no artist,” yet her art teacher insists she “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” So she makes a dot. The teacher’s response is beautiful. The dot is hung up and celebrated, and with that small bit of encouragement, Vashti (that’s the girl) is transformed into an artist in her own mind. Eventually, she becomes an artist in truth, and traces her success back to that one act of support from that one elementary school art teacher.
At first glance, that might seem like an “everyone is special” story line. But I think it is so much more. The gift that art teacher gives Vashti is something so precious and magical, yet so simple that many of us do not even realize it is a gift. She values her work. To a child, a teacher (or a parent, or an older sibling, or a coach) is a person of great wisdom. To receive praise & acknowledgement from someone we respect is such a powerful thing. But often, the person who is in that position does not realize the power they hold.
I think we all hold that power and influence over someone. Maybe to our children, or to the people who work for (or with) us, maybe to our loved ones or friends. We should all remember the impact our words can have.
99% of the time, encouraging someone will not result in them becoming a successful artist. That takes hard work, skill, dedication, and luck. But 100% of the time, encouraging someone will make them happy. It will make them feel better about themselves. It will help them to keep trying. And that is enough of a reason to do it.
So today, make a mark and see where it takes you. Try something new, that you think you cannot do. Try to create, to draw or write or sing.
And make a mark on another person’s life by offering your support and encouragement. You never know where it will lead. Happy Dot Day 🙂