Ed­i­tor’s Let­ter

Indwe - - Contents -

They say that art is in the eye of the be­holder – and thank good­ness for that, oth­er­wise none of our child­hood paint­ings would ever have made it onto the fridge, and our wonky pot­tery bowls would not still adorn the kitchen win­dowsill. Thank­fully too, as chil­dren, our par­ents praised and en­cour­aged all of our best ef­forts, whether they were ever any good or not.

My mum loves to tell the story of one of my bal­let classes she watched when I was about five years old. We had been en­cour­aged by the teacher to make up our own dances – the in­spi­ra­tion of which could be ab­so­lutely any­thing. Soon it was my turn. I bounced around the room twirling and bend­ing, stoop­ing and jump­ing with all the grace that only a chubby five-yearold can muster – not to men­tion lim­it­less amounts of en­thu­si­asm. After the ap­plause had died down, the teacher asked me what my dance had been about. “I was putting flow­ers on granny’s grave!” I replied, as if the an­swer should have been bla­tantly ob­vi­ous.

When I grew older and thought back to my bal­let days, I asked my mum: “Did you put me in bal­let be­cause I was grace­ful?”

“No dar­ling, we put you in bal­let be­cause you were knock-kneed and we thought it might help.” Fan­tasy well and truly shot out of the water.

But the point is that she would never have told me that as an en­thu­si­as­tic five-year-old who thought she was more Mar­got Fonteyn than a hippo from Fan­ta­sia, and it is pre­cisely that kind of un­wa­ver­ing sup­port that en­cour­aged so many of us to ex­plore our tal­ents and in­ter­ests – whether they turned out to be prizewin­ning and long-last­ing, or not.

And that, I think, is one of the most im­por­tant gifts a par­ent can give you. Yes, they clothe and feed you and give you cud­dles and set bound­aries, but, just as im­por­tantly, they sup­port you and en­cour­age you and are at once your big­gest cheer­leader and your most fear­less pro­tec­tor. And it is be­cause of this, that many of us were given the op­por­tu­nity to dream and grow, be brave, and con­quer our own worlds. When you think about it that way, just how many of your per­sonal suc­cesses in life have stemmed from your Mum cheer­ing ex­tra loudly at your bal­let recital, or mak­ing a point of al­ways putting your pic­ture in pride of place on the fridge?

This Mother’s Day why not tell your mum how much her sup­port meant to you – I prom­ise you, it will be a far greater gift than a box of choco­lates.

Safe trav­els,

Nicky Fur­niss Ed­i­tor

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