I think many parents take this stance when a kid shows proficiency in a skill that’s a hobby. By “hobby,” I mean any skill that isn’t a trade or physical skill. Playing an instrument, drawing, writing, singing, and acting would all be hobbies in the mind of the average parent.
Not every parent expects their kid to be an athlete, but sports are easier to support than the arts. In sports, parents get to see their kids be physically active, make friends, learn about the value of hard work, and develop leadership skills and teamwork. The teenager that sits in his room and draws all the time is off-putting and weird.
An artistically talented child will grow up with one of two kinds of parents.The first kind of parent, most parents, are generally supportive. It can be hard for them to provide the right kind of educational support. They want to do their part, but lack the know-how.
These parents always reach something I call the “talent support breaking point” (TSBP). Sometimes it takes years to reach it, but it will happen. When you are to the point of starving for your art, the parent will start to suggest finding “something” to do in the meantime that will pay the bills or flat out tell you that you need to give up all this foolishness. It’s not about love or lack of love. Every parent wants the best for their kid. It’s easy to see why they’d want you to get a “real job” if they see you going broke pursuing something they don’t understand.
The second kind of parents blindly support their children. Some kids are just not talented, no matter how hard they work. I’m not saying these kids should give up, but sometimes a hobby is just a hobby. Blind support mostly happens when a parent had a talent, but did what their parents told them to do and got a “real job.” The parent carries that resentment over and will support the child’s artistic endeavors, but never push him or her to be better.
It’s up to the individual to determine if his or her artistic talent should be a hobby or a career. Parent support can help, but like everything in life you must work for what you want. At the risk of sounding like a couch psychologist, you should know when doing what you love is worth it, whether it’s a hobby or career. I recently re-discovered my passion for drawing and remembered why I love it so much.
It’s a marvelous thing to rediscover your passion. If you set down a pencil or a typewriter years ago, now would be a good time to pick it up again. It’s never too late to be a creator.