It’s getting younger and younger by the year: the age when kids start getting pestered about what they want to do when they grow up. I know the first time I was asked, I was just 3 years old – not because I remember it, of course. But there it is, immortalized in the preschool yearbook, the question followed by my extremely whimsical answer (“an astronaut”). For one young student though, the answer became clear in a different way.
Honestly, it’s a bit absurd to expect kids to have an answer to this question before they can even form memories. But if a child is continuously getting in trouble for doing something creative that they love, whether it’s the wrong or right time – that may be a pretty good indicator that they have a passion for something that remains relatively unique to young people. For this young boy, it was doodling.
9-year-old Joe Whale from Shrewsbury, Shropshire has an artistic hand that was seriously getting on his teacher’s nerve. Obviously, talent should always be celebrated – but we can understand that drawing over the lessons on the whiteboard for the entire class may be inconvenient.
Rather than cultivate a space for Joe to express himself, the teacher wanted him reprimanded for his behavior. But she may have come to regret leaving that responsibility to his parents. They saw his potential and signed him up for an art class after school right away. And it wasn’t long before his art teachers recognized the potential as well.
After his art school had posted a few of his drawings to their Instagram, they caught the eye of management at a local restaurant called Number 4. With permission from Joe’s parents and encouragement from his new art teachers, he was commissioned by the restaurant to put his doodles over their entire wall.
Today, the boy whose creativity was frowned upon has a portfolio in progress, a supportive community, and a nickname – “Doodle Boy.” It does have a lovely ring to it.