Last week, a long time Instagram friend, Stephanie Matthew, asked me if I could help her promote a project. She told me about how she had recently read an article about self-esteem in girls, stating that self-esteem peaks at nine years of age and only goes down from there. Stephanie’s thoughts went immediately to her seven year old daughter, who only two hours earlier had been dancing in the driveway with no self-consciousness whatsoever and earlier that same day had worn her plastic princess shoes to the store without a moment’s hesitation. Whether or not the article’s conclusion was perfectly accurate or applicable to all children, Stephanie knew she wanted to do something for her daughters, but also more broadly to help other children and to raise awareness around this issue.
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Thinking back on a recent occasions when a few perfect words – “We can do hard things” — had been the motivation her daughters needed to stick with something challenging, like learning to tie shoes, the popular phrase “What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” came to mind. She pictured the words as a dialogue between parent and child. But she also knew these words would suit a nursery room as much as a boardroom wall – they felt universally relevant. Stephanie decided to design a print to hang up for her girls, but she wanted every child to have these motivational words hanging in their home, so she talked to her friend Rebecca who runs Children Inspire Design.
If you haven’t heard of Children Inspire Design you should check them out. They are an online art shop that produces modern, eco-friendly and culturally diverse wall art, inspired by children. Rebecca believes in the importance of global responsibility and in cultivating a love for art and the world’s many cultures, which is why her shop always pairs art with giving. Throughout history art has been a strong and important force for social change, so while the prints Rebecca sells help teach children about important issues, such as caring for the earth, the sales help support women and children around the world by sharing the proceeds with a variety of charities.
While working on the design for the print, Stephanie’s research led her to finding out who had written those 12 profound words. Erin Hanson, is a 19 year old Australian poet, who wrote those now famous words, as part of a longer poem, when she was just 18. Impressed and intrigued by the fact that the words had been written by such a young mind, I sought out contact with Erin and asked her a few questions. Here’s my interview with Erin Hanson:
What do the words mean to you?
They mean a lot, as I’m the kind of person who can quite often back away from the things that I want purely because I’m scared of trying really hard for something and then not reaching it. They’re as much of a personal reminder for me as they are for the other people who read them.
When did you start writing poetry?
I started writing silly little poems when I was around 11, but I didn’t take it seriously until I started my blog in 2011.
What are you inspired by?
Everything! If I had to pick something in particular it would be nature, or more specifically how if you watch it for long enough you realise that its patterns can be related almost directly to the patterns and emotions etc. that exist within a human being.
What motivates you to share your art?
Everyone who’s ever told me that it’s helped them in some way. I know how much words can help people, so if mine have the opportunity to then I’m happy.
Stephanie and Rebecca have partnered to offer a print of Erin’s motivational words. The print is only available for purchase until February 25, 2015. All of the proceeds will go to Free2Luv, an anti-bullying organization dedicated to empowering youth, celebrating individuality and spreading kindness. The limited edition 11×14 print is available for purchase here, and as a thank you Children Inspire Design will include a free 5×7 print with your purchase. The prints are made with eco materials and inks, and the packaging is biodegradable. Check marks all around!
With this project Stephanie hopes to remind her girls and the rest of us that life is magical and that we should always think big – what if you fly? I think most of us have witnessed the social media community come together around crises and social issues, and I hope Stephanie’s project will be another beautiful instance of community engagement and support.
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Posted in: art, children, parenting | Tagged: children, erin hanson, girls, interview, parenting, poetry, self-esteem