Sunday, March 14, 2010

Inspire Forward

Who are the people in your life who have inspired you?
My parents bought me my first charcoal art kit when I was in the fifth grade. I followed the instructions and drew the covered bridge. My mom framed it and hung it on the wall and the message I received was inspiring and clear: "My daughter is an artist." At least that's the message I got. Thanks Mom for believing in me. When my oldest son, Joe, was in the second grade, a special teacher wrote on one of his stories, "Remember me when you are a famous writer". Joe went on to be an English Major at Suffolk University and is today, an amazing writer.
Now I want to tell you what, the mom of one of my students told me, what I would like to call, an "Inspire Forward" story. This mom works in a hospice home and takes cares of and has become very fond of a 102 year old woman named Bessie. Bessie is an artist, so she showed her one of her daughter, Ali's, drawings. Bessie looked it over and very quietly she began to critique Ali's drawing in a very constructive way. All through the summer, drawings went back and forth from Bessie to Ali through the mom. Ali loved getting instruction and would make the changes before sending it back to see what Bessie thought. Then one day, Bessie had a special gift for Ali - a box with all her own personal art supplies that she no longer was using. Ali was thrilled to receive such a wonderful gift but Ali's mom told me that the true gift was the passing on of Bessie's belief in Ali that said, "You are an artist."
Ali is now one of my students and I get to take over where Bessie left off. To be the inspiration in the life of another is truly a gift and I am thankful every day for this privilege.
So how do we Inspire Forward?
It starts with you. Think about the people who have inspired you and, from that place of gratitude, take actions that inspire forward a similar feeling. It takes being present - really be "in the now", noticing others and listening with an open heart. I know that when I listen to that still small voice inside that comes from a place I call "other than me", I will hear what the person in front of me in the moment needs. Sometimes it is just to listen. Other times it's a kind word or a card or an email. Sometimes I offer to barter when I know the person can't afford classes just to say, "Hey I think you have talent." I offer discount classes for seniors to say, "Come try painting, if you always wondered if you could paint, it's never too late." I inspire forward.
I would love hear about how you have "Inspired Forward". Send me your stories. I will pick one and write about it in one of my upcoming columns.
Email me at If you are interested in discount Senior painting classes, come to one or more Thursday classes, 1:30 to 3:30 PM, Colleen Sgroi Gallery & Art Classes, 12 Andover Road, Billerica, MA. Visit Call 978-667-1009 for more information about "Voice of the Artist", creating happiness and success with art and" Inspire Forward".