Believing in a child so she can, too


“If just one person believes in you, deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you…hard enough and long enough, it stands to reason, that someone else will think, “If he can do it, I can do it.” Making it two whole people, who believe in you; deep enough, and strong enough, believe in you. Hard enough and long enough…Making it three people you can say: believe in me…. And if three whole people, why not—four? And if four whole people, why not—more, and more, and more…. It stands to reason that you yourself will start to see what everybody sees in you…. And maybe even you, can believe in you… too.” —“Just One Person,” song performed by The Muppets, youtube.com/watch?v=FLnyK7 DG0CA)

One of my daughters, and that’s as specific as I’ll be, since she wouldn’t for a second want her business broadcast in any way, is a comic strip creator. I am happy about this because her work is funny and clever and twisted. It sits somewhere between Calvin and Hobbes funny and The Office funny, on an elementary level. A promising place to be, I say.

She practically jumps into my lap when she has a new scene ready for me to read, which on the average, is at least a couple times per week. When she’s not making her own, her nose is in a Garfield book, which seems to be the one that first piqued her interest in comics.

She’s drawn to sarcasm and dry humor seems to suit her, so it’s not a surprise she latched on to one like Garfield. But I noticed her reading began to turn into something more like studying. She started to Google all of Jim Davis’ Garfield books and kept track of how Garfield’s look changed through the years. Eventually, she started to question how much money Jim Davis made. It seems she’s covering all the bases in her research.

It’s exciting to see your kids show some real interest in something on their own. As parents, we want to expose them to as much as possible, so they understand the endless opportunities that are out there for them. I hate to think that one thing they might fall in love with is never put in front of them. That very fact makes it hard to stop pushing when there’s always 10 more things they could get involved in.

I know my daughter’s young and has a lot of years to find her “thing,” but it sure is fun to see that flicker show up in her eye and in her voice when she tells me about a new character she’s thinking about or when she laughs out loud after reading her own work. I don’t care how young or old you are, that’s a special thing.

We were cleaning together the other day and she suddenly said, “I don’t have any new ideas. I can’t think of anything.”

I told her this was normal, the creative flow comes and goes, frustrating as it is. I suggested she keep a notebook close by and if she sees something funny or random, to quickly make a note, and she might be surprised how those little things can sometimes turn to a big idea.

By the time our conversation ended—maybe two minutes after it started—she said the one thing that proved to me how important this was to her.

She protectively said, “I know more about these characters than anyone ever will.”

And then she added with a grin, “I think Moon (actual animal character name changed to protect the innocent) might be thinking about running away from home.”

Within 30 minutes, she had a half-page back-story written on the two main characters.

“These aren’t going to be in a comic,” she explained. “These are just for me.”

I don’t know how long this commitment to her brainchild will last. Once I saw her dig deeper and uncover some depth to the characters that only she needed to discover, I realized it might hang around for awhile.

Whatever her dedication turns into, I believe in her. And I hope she believes in her, too.


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