Yesterday, I was studying the forehand of one of my students. He had just had a breakthrough in hitting one of the most explosive and high-level forehands I’ve seen on a young player, and I was watching the video repeatedly.
As she came up next to me, I could tell she was watching my interest in the video. For a brief moment, I thought, “I wonder if I could teach her that. After all, she’s pretty athletic and seems to have picked up what I’ve taught her already.
Her – “Can I show you something?”
Me – “Uh… just a minute.”
I watched it again.
Me – “Wow! Look at that, I said, talking to myself, “Look at the way his elbow follows the hip… it has lag, whips, goes into a straight arm…”
I could see she was wanting my attention but was being patient as she knew I was excited and that I’m a nut about my students when they are making breakthroughs.
Me – “Yes, honey.”
Her – “Look, Daddy. I drew our house. This is the living room. Here is the kitchen. This is us in the bedroom. You’re on your phone, and I’m on the bed.”
They were not drawings to frame. They were sketches. She had done them quickly. But, in that moment, I realized that I was looking at her authentic self expressing itself. Something had prompted her all of a sudden to do this, an impulse, a pull, an interest.
It reminded me of the story of Jane Goodall when she was four. She had gotten lost and the family panicked. A search party ensued for a couple hours. Meanwhile young Jane was in the chicken coop crouching patiently the entire time. She wanted to see a hen lay an egg. When she emerged, her mom, instead of chastising her, validated her Jane’s joy. This was a defining moment in her life and destiny.
This whole story of Jane Goodall flashed in my mind for a moment.
I realized that my daughter, like me, is driven first and foremost, by a creative impulse. Tennis may or may not be a big part of her journey.
So, I took the drawings and enjoyed them and validated her. I saw her.
Me – “You’re a real artist. What prompted you to go through the whole house and do this?”
Her – “I don’t know.”
Perfect. I love it when she follows her creative impulses without prompting. It’s the reason I didn’t get upset the other day when her teachers expressed some understandable frustration that she wanted to do art all day instead of her math.
One has a pull…