A 6-yr-old's art teacher said she did her painting 'wrong' and the responses are just great

The impulse and ability to create art is one of the highlights of being human. It's a key quality that sets us apart from the animal world, one that makes life more meaningful and enjoyable.

While there are artistic skills that make it easier for people to bring their imaginations into the visible, tangible world, art doesn't abide by any hard and fast rules. Especially kids' art. Especially young kids' art.

That's why Gemma Leighton, mother of 6-year-old Edie, shared her daughter's painting on Twitter with a request for support. Edie created the painting in an after school art club, and her art teacher told her she did it wrong.

"You can't do art wrong!" wrote Leighton. "She was so upset as art is her favourite thing to do."

Now, we don't know exactly what the teacher said to Edie, but if a 6-year-old comes home upset and feeling like there's something wrong with their art, the teacher did something wrong. Full stop. Six-year-olds are just beginning to learn about technique, and encouragement is the most vital thing a teacher can offer a budding artist.

The internet rightfully pounced to Edie's defense, and the responses are incredibly heartwarming.


Many people shared how hurt they were as children when a teacher told them something was wrong with their art—and that they were wrong. Knowing that grown-ups had experienced the same kinds of unnecessary criticism as kids and realized that it was wrong can help Edie feel confident that her painting is not "wrong."



Others pointed out the famous artists that her painting reminded them of. Seeing how her own painting reflects some of the style and color choices of professional artists can help Edie see the spark of genius in her own artwork.

Songwriter Kimya Dawson, most famous for her songs in the movie Juno, shared that a middle school English teacher had told her to stop writing poems because they were "too juvenile."

"I never stopped though and making rhyming poems has been my career for over 20 years!" Dawson wrote. "Your painting is perfect! Keep it up! Don't worry what anyone else thinks."


Professional artists chimed in with words of encouragement, pointing out that Edie's use of perspective and expressionism were quite impressive for her age.

"The only 'wrong' is not making art that speaks from your heart," wrote an artist who goes by @Artsy on Twitter. "When she expresses her passion, her vision of her world, her personal reactions to what she sees and feels, she'll never be 'wrong.'"

Even KISS guitarist Paul Stanley offered Edie words of encouragement.

"Your art is AWESOME!!!" he wrote. "There is no such thing as doing art 'wrong.' There are only teachers who are wrong!!! Your art shows amazing freedom and spirit. How can that be 'wrong'?!?! Keep doing EXACTLY what you are doing. I LOVE it!!!"

Imagine being a heartbroken 6-year-old who has been told by a teacher that her art was wrong, and then seeing a flood of thousands of supportive comments from people who looked at the same piece of art and told you what they loved about it. This is how social media should be used. To lift people up, to encourage and inspire, to share beauty and creativity.

Leighton created a new Twitter account called Edie's Art for people to share kids' artwork, and gracious, it's a delight to peruse. There's nothing more pure, more colorful, more full of life than art that came from a child's imagination. They may not have the technical skills to perfectly create what they envision in their minds or what they're looking at for inspiration, but that's part of what makes it so beautiful. They aren't self-conscious enough yet to hold back, and their art comes from a place of confidence and acceptance of their own abilities—that is, until some adult comes along and squashes their artistic spirit.



One of my favorite things as a parent has been watching my kids' artistic expressions evolve as they've grown, and I've loved their artwork at every stage. And not just because I'm their mom, but because kid creations are the best reminder of how natural the human impulse to create really is, and how beautiful it is when we share that impulse without fear or doubt.

Keep painting, Edie. Don't let one person's opinion—even a teacher's—hold you back.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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