When I was 9 or 10 years old, I wanted to be a writer. Crazy, I know. No one really has their life and career planned out by the time they turn 9, but I was certain that this was what I wanted to do. Much to my dismay, all of the adults in my life tried to persuade me to do something, anything, else. At the time, I figured they were just naysayers that didn't want me to lead a life of fame and fortune. However, as the wheel of time continued to turn and I grew up, I realized what their end goal was- to warn me.

Being any form of artist, whether it be dancer, painter, or writer, is not only financially unsustainable nowadays, it's downright looked down upon. Unless you pursue a STEM field, you're thought of as "not smart/good enough." If you doodle in class, you're seen as distracted and are forced to put down the pencil rather than being allowed to tap into your well of creativity. We are stifling the greatest minds by encouraging them to emphasize the importance of money rather than the importance of loving your work and contributing to society and the world as a whole.

In ancient civilizations, being an artist meant that you were a skilled craftsman and artisan, someone that had honed their skills over an extensive amount of time to provide their society with beauty and creativity. Not only is art a source of joy for many, it also passes down information for future generations. Paintings, sculptures, and dance are universal. Without them, human civilization would undoubtedly be eons behind.

So the next time the kid you're babysitting says they want to be an artist when they grow up, congratulate them. Being a scientist or a mathematician takes brains, but being an artist takes to heart.