Lately, my timeline has been full of hate comments towards a Wells Fargo brochure advocating a “Teen Day”. Most of my outspoken artist friends have put in their two cents, and nobody is happy about it. I am an artist as well; I go to school for music, I participate in musicals and theatre, and I draw in my free time. However, at first glance, I saw literally nothing wrong with the ad. Here is why.
I have always known I’ve wanted to work with kids. I love the potential in young people and I have always been passionate about letting them explore their gifts and intellect. When I was 5, I told my parents I wanted to be a pediatrician. I was the top 5 of my class and even cried when I got my first 90 (what brilliant college preparatory lesson this would be). I set my sights on anything math and science; the science fair was my life when it rolled around every year.
On top of my passion for all things analytical and mathematical, I practiced dance. From Kindergarten to fifth grade, dance was my calling, my bailiwick, my “forte”, etc. I loved the feeling of covering myself in sequins and strutting on stage. The months of preparation and strength conditioning were always worth it. Before I danced, I was having trouble tying my shoes but could read at a fourth-grade level.
When I got to middle school, I drowned myself in the arts. I auditioned for every theatre production possible, I was in choir at the local and district levels, I played clarinet, and attended monthly art club meetings. I was obsessed. On top of this, I was enrolled in every Honors-level course I could take. While I was still making straight As and exceeding my book checkout quota in the library, I was discovering my passion for the arts. I was convinced I would have to choose between art and medicine.
Mind you, my parents did not force either of these practices on me.
See, my parents have always had this crazy notion that I could do whatever made me happy and successful. Notice I said happy AND successful because I have spent the past eight years knowing that music is my calling and will somehow bring me a paycheck. Before I knew this, I was convinced that a career in medicine would make me happy because I loved numbers and systems and solving problems. Regardless of what I pursue my career in, I just know that I can do whatever I know will fully satisfy me.
My point is that I have never been harassed, forced, or coerced to follow my dream. Wells Fargo is not shoving math and science down anybody’s throats; they are merely using two careers as an example. If a little girl throws away her dance shoes and wants to be a mechanic, so be it. If a little boy hides his crayons and paint and wants to be a retail manager, let him. I went to high school with one of the best singers I’ve ever known, and she wanted to be an astronaut more than anything. A friend I met in a city choir in middle school just switched her major to marketing. I grew up with girls who strapped themselves in band and drill uniforms every Friday, then graduated high school and went to a large state school to study nursing.
There is absolutely no shame in advocating STEM. There is no shame in preferring science over art. I have a passion for music and science, and I can choose which career I will pursue at my own will. It is one thing to force a child to be a lawyer or doctor because of the money; consider the same with dance, if the family is generations deep in professional ballet repertoire. This ad of Wells Fargo is not an issue of forcing science on a child; it is about letting them decide which path they will take in life and supporting their decision wholeheartedly.
Wells Fargo, you have done nothing wrong.