When I was a kid I loved to draw. I looked forward to rainy days at school because that meant I could color all during recess without getting in trouble. I remember drawing picture after picture and hanging them on the fridge or giving them to friends. Mostly they were stick-figure-esque. For a while I drew elephants, but I'm not sure why. And then I drew ballerinas with two buns on the top of their heads, and big cartoony, googley eyes.
I'm not sure I was much better at it than my peers, but I certainly enjoyed it and my parents took notice. At 12-years-old, I took a drawing class for kids at Sacramento State University, and still to this day, that's where I learned many of the basic art skills I use today.
To me, the most amazing part is, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine me still drawing elephants and ballerinas today. If I hadn't continued to take classes and draw on my free time, any kind of talent I had had would have certainly disappeared. I wasn't anything special, I was just determined -- each new drawing was a challenge, and to this day, still is.
In regards to talent*, James E. Faust, used the example of the Little Engine That Could, to remind us that sometimes talents begin as just a small spark of ability, but with a belief in ourselves and hard work, it can turn into something larger than ourselves:
"At times all of us are called upon to stretch ourselves and do more than we think we can. I'm reminded of President Theodore Roosevelt's quip, 'I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.' We develop our talents by first thinking we can."
My mom sent me an e-mail Saturday night with scans of drawings I had done as a kid. Seeing my kid-drawings definitely put a big smile on my face. If I hadn't had parents, other adult leaders, and peers that enthusiastically reacted to each of my drawings -- I'd still be drawing stick figures! After many years of practice, work and diligence, I was able to develop the abilities I have today. And the great thing is, I'm not done learning.
Like Heber J. Grant said, "That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased."
The average person can get from drawings of elephants and ballerinas to realistic pieces of arts. It certainty can't happen over night, but with a little determination and work...it's bound to happen sooner or later.
I love this one because they are drawings and writings...two things that took a lot of work to develop on my part. In fact, when I was in first grade, I wasn't reading as well as I was supposed to be and received extra help. Go figure, years later, I'd end up in a career where all I do is read and write.
Self-portraits...kind of strange, I think, because I didn't have brown hair as a lil' one, and I definitely never had a cat.
I love this one. You can see the "swish" marks I added for my jump rope. Also, I'm very obviously in mid-air in this drawing.
*In the LDS church we believe that every person has been given talents and abilities by Heavenly Father. We believe that these talents were given to us to not only bless our own lives, but to bless the lives of others. These talents are of both spiritual and temporal natures and range from the ability to have faith to athletic abilities. We believe that by sharing these gifts, we not only develop our talents but we are able to serve others and "glorify God" like is stated in Matthew 5:16.