Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Needing reassurance! Reply To: Needing reassurance!

#4386

Creyes,

Let me try to explain this in terms that you can understand. You say you are a mom, so I understand that it is in your nature to protect and offer blind encouragement. So let’s equate this to an experience with your kids.

Let’s say you have a 5 year old little boy and he has started to play t-ball. He’s the best on his team, bats .900, and has even progressed to hitting without the t in practice. He looks at the pros and sees that they have a batting average of .180-.250 and comes to you to ask if he can be a professional ball player.

If you react the way you have here, you’d rush out to the nearest major city and insist that their baseball team give your son a tryout. When the coach informs you that your son weighs less than the average equipment bag and doesn’t have the strength to throw from the mound to the plate, you berate him, insist that he’s arrogant and doesn’t know what he’s talking about, that your son is amazing and that he would do well not to discourage your son. Let’s suspend reality for a moment and assume that the coach gives him the tryout just to make it so he doesn’t have to deal with the crazy mom anymore. Your son goes to his tryout, and faced with a 90mph fastball for the first time, swings and strikes out, over and over and over again while the players laugh at him and the coach shakes his head. On the way home, the boy is in tears… you try to tell him he’s amazing, but now that he’s seen what amazing really is, he’s broken. He quits his team, and never swings a bat again. All because of your encouragement.

Now let’s look at this same scene my way had my son come to me with the same request. I sit the boy down and explain that he’s only a boy, and that playing t-ball isn’t the same as playing pro. I encourage him, not for his abilities, but to his potential by being honest and telling him that he’ll need to work very hard if he wants to be a pro player some day. He works hard, I take him to the batting cages, work with him as he progresses to little league, then senior league, than high school. His hard work pays off and he gets a scholarship to play baseball at the college of his choice and he’s picked up after graduation by a minor league team. I keep encouraging him to improve. He works hard, and finally, 20 years after he came to me wanting to be a pro ball player, he’s picked up by a pro team.

It would be utterly ridiculous to take the first approach with your child, so why is it any less ridiculous to do it in this situation?

Hard truths are always preferable to comfortable lies. If you come to me for advice, I tell the truth, I do so in the hope that the OP will in fact reach that potential. In order to grow, you must understand where you are and what direction to go. I’ve got experience in the business. I know how hard it is, I know what it takes. I know that if you start business before your skill is strong enough to support it, you have to support it with sheer will, and that is a crushing weight.

It is something about photography that I hate, but roughly 80% of all professional photographers who have been working over 5 years are men while around 75% of those working less than 5 are women.I’ve never been able to figure out why, but I am learning, through my interactions on this site, a reason that finally is starting to make sense. It’s their female friends who don’t understand that encouragement can be as dangerous as it it beneficial. Moms like you. Moms who get together and encourage other moms that their pictures are amazing and that they should go into business. You build them up with the highly addictive drugs or praise and status, then rush them to their pro tryout before they’ve mastered the basics and think you’re helping them. You’re not, you are dooming them to be crushed, their passion destroyed, their hopes dashed. You are unwittingly damning them with your good intentions.

I don’t care what you think of me, I don’t care what the OP thinks of me. It isn’t my problem, so I can tell her the truth in the hope that it will help her. I’d rather she hate me forever and succeed than have her like me and fail. The best teachers I ever had were not the ones who handed out easy A’s, who coddled and told me I was wonderful. The best teachers are the ones who focused on all that I could be, who gave me the tools to learn and left it up to me to grow. I didn’t like them at the time, but now that I’m older and more mature, I appreciate them more than the teachers I loved at the time, the latter I can’t even remember their names, the former (Gloria Apple, Jim Springer, Betty Endelman, Sandra Bade, Dennis McMaken, and Dan Shaffer) I will never forget.