For the duration of the pandemic, like many families, we were trying to stay safe as best we could. I had been furloughed, and it looked like I was going to be semi-homeschooling the kids for the foreseeable future. Our kids were little champs, adapting quickly, attending school virtually and bearing with me as I attempted to figure out a new routine. When I saw an ad for an online creativity school, I was curious. While I wasn’t a fan of giving them even more screen time, I knew that being creative was something the kids definitely gravitated towards, and virtual classes meant convenience as well as continuing to limit our exposure. During our free trial, I was impressed by the caliber of the teachers, the expert moderating of the sessions, and how encouraging everyone was. Our kids loved it, and we became members.
The kids learned so much: drawing, watercolor, acrylic painting. They were taught how to use digital drawing tools, and even learned how to make stop motion videos. Then the creativity school announced a class that didn’t seem like it would fit in at all: basic money sense. But when the founder explained his reasons for the class, it didn’t seem so out of place after all. He talked about how so many of his fellow creatives fell into being “starving artists” because while they might have had massive creative skills, they lacked money sense. Money sense is something that I myself never really got as a kid, so I was extra eager to expose my kids to these classes. In all reality, the kids were too young to really understand the concepts that were being taught, but simply put, they taught how important it was to save $5 a week into an interest-accruing account.
The class brainstormed ways on how kids could earn $5 a week. There were things like chores or mowing yards for neighbors; we didn’t think it made sense to give them an allowance quite yet, and they were definitely too young to be mowing yards. But this was a creativity school after all, and the founder and all of their teachers were accomplished writers, illustrators, speakers … creatives, all of them, being paid for their expertise and craft. Could I encourage my kid to … be a non-starving artist? To make money doing something she could easily do all day long with joy singing loudly in her heart?
My older daughter took to the idea of an Etsy shop instantly. She planned out what she wanted. She actually had (has) a lot of plans. She came up with her name on her own: RainbowClara (named after herself and her favorite color). She picked out the art she wanted to sell. She had a story for each one (she has a story for every piece of art she makes). She is always telling me she wants to add more. Her mom here has had a hard time keeping up as her “manager”. (By the way, I want to mention that this is actually the SECOND time she has sold her art. The first time was going door to door selling small art pieces for a quarter each. All HER idea at age 3. Talk about a gutsy little kid!)
We talked about making a difference in the world through her art, and I asked her what she thought about donating a portion of her proceeds to charities; she really, really liked that idea. “Who do you want to help?” I asked. She didn’t take long to decide, responding, “Gorillas … elephants … and children.” We had a great laugh together. As adults, we tend to overthink things sometimes, and our kiddos often wake us up to their fresh, raw perspective on how the world works in their eyes. And so it was decided, 10% of her proceeds would go towards gorillas, elephants, and children. Friends and family, thank you for supporting RainbowClara, it means a lot to us. You are encouraging her to do what she loves; your love for her is in turn allowing her, through her creativity, to further spread love to the world.
Our silver lining to the pandemic: witnessing our child’s heart of gold be bolstered by so much love around us. She IS the rainbow that came out during these unprecedented challenges, and continues to remind us to look for the hope all around us.