Why We Need to Exercise Responsible Parenting In Our Creative Process

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

At the easel, painting a live portrait, First Saturday Arts Market a few years ago.

Responsible parenting is the magical ability to teach and impart self-managing skills to our children in a gradual and masterful way that fits their learning abilities and level of maturity. You will note that my definition does not assume anyone is an expert as there is a degree of immeasurable wiggle-room and ongoing opportunity for improvement. Perhaps that is why they say you become more of a master with grand-parenting.

If grand-parenting gives us room for improvement because we can stand back and look at our “creation” and learn from our mistakes then perhaps we can use this example in the practice of our creative works as well.

So how do we impart self-managing skills to our creations?

A key element that I find missing from many creative processes when it comes to the production phase is the consideration of what it takes to power your production, maintain it, and the plan for its obsolescence or posterity. In other words, the consideration of its full life cycle.

When we consider the full life cycle of a product we are giving it life skills for self-management. We are making a sustainable product.

What is a sustainable product? This definition is like the one for “organic” products. What is truly organic and what is acceptably “organic”. It depends on who is measuring. Our job is to consider every aspect of the product from its reason for being to its design, use, and end of life. Is the product necessary? What purpose will it serve? Does it enrich, communicate, serve? Is it unique, is it an improvement, is it a copy of something else?

Mitch model

Mitch posing for his Character Sketch at the First Saturday Arts Market.

Over the last few decades, we are again paying more attention to the aesthetics of a product but we are forgetting about its production and operation. We need to maintain the balance of quality control in all aspect of the creation’s life-cycle. Just as we look for the optimum design, the right raw material, the most effective and efficient production process to deliver maximum operation capacity, we also need to consider how it will be maintained and how it will ride off into the sunset…because if we don’t, then someone else will have to pick up the slack of our lack of planning and incur costs that we ultimately should be accountable for as master creators. Ineffective design fails to consider these elements in the rush to get the product out to market before its time.

One of the key elements today when it comes to sustainability of a functional product is how it will be powered. If this is an after thought then we will be incurring potential retrofitting costs to the owner when finding the most effective, efficient, and environmentally responsible source of energy. Operation, maintenance and planned obsolescence are critical to sustainable design.

So when considering birthing your next purposeful design, be mindful of what will go into it, how it will go into it, how it will operate, how it will be powered, how it will be maintained, how it will seize to exist, and how it will reintegrate as raw material for other creations.

Now if we could only write the ultimate parenting guide with that!

About The Lady Of The Turquoise Pendant

Tamal breakfast

Snow capped Popocatepetl

It was in the early 90’s that I wrote my version of the Aztec legend of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, the two volcanoes found in central Mexico. I did it to share part of my culture with my children. It was a story I grew up with. My version was a short story. I found that each version was a little different so I felt comfortable telling my own as I learned it over the years. The main format was that of a tragedy a la Romeo and Juliet but in an Aztec version.

While tinkering with the first version of the story I procrastinated getting it done until one day. My husband invited me to a tasty taco joint in Stafford, Texas and lo and behold, pinned to the wall was an illustration of a glorious Aztec warrior with a beautiful sleeping maiden in his arms. The caption had the legend written in about 8 lines. I took that as a sign that I should finish my story.

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant

The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant, by Lilibeth André

In 1999, I decided to turn the story into a novel and work on the manuscript began.  I finished it in 2002 and sent it out to a few publishing houses that I thought might be interested in the subject matter but I began to collect rejection letters. It was not something they were looking for at the time.

Time went on and every time Popocatepetl, a semi-dormant volcano, spewed steam and ash I took it as a sign that I needed to do something with the book. I began to have a strong feeling that I needed to share the book with more kids, not just my own. I felt that by sharing this story built on the background of research I conducted about the Aztec culture to believably place my story in a space and time, I could help Hispanic and Latino kids better understand where they came from and be proud of their rich culture.

Lilibeth André, King Topiltzin, Oil, 24x18

Lilibeth André, King Topiltzin, Oil, 24×18

So my mission became to use the book as a tool to generate curiosity about a native American culture we don’t read about in school. We may learn about the pyramids in Egypt but we don’t learn about what was one of the strongest cultures in the Americas.

My kids are grown now. I published The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant with my own illustrations and use it to help me share with Hispanics and non-Hispanics about the love I have for my culture and the things we have learned from the Aztecs. And maybe, the book can be a spark to generate curiosity to learn more about the Aztec contribution to the world through urbanism, agriculture, engineering, astronomy, calendars, culinary richness and so much more.

More about The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant:

Book Award

eBook Launch

Latina Book Club Interview

 

 

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.