I had a coach in high school who told his team that as long as he was yelling at us everything was alright. “It’s when I quit yelling at you that you need to worry because when I stop yelling at you, I have lost confidence in you.”
Minerva Teichert (1888-1976) had a similar experience. Minerva started painting when she was four years old when her mother gave her a set of watercolors. At age fourteen, she went to work as a nanny in San Francisco. While there she was able to observe paintings at such places as the Mark Hopkins Art School.
She graduated from Pocatello (Idaho) High School at age sixteen and taught school to save money to go to the Art Institute of Chicago. When she had saved up enough money to attend the art school, her father refused to let her go alone. Undaunted, at the ripe old age of 19, she was able to enroll at the school. While there, she studied under John Vanderpoel, a master at the school of painting.
Minerva said that he often criticized her work unmercifully while not doing the same to the other students. One day she became so frustrated that she confronted him about it. Mr. Vanderpoel’s response was, “Miss Idaho, can it be possible you do not understand? They’re not worth it. They will drop out, but you—ah, there is no end.”
Ms. Teichert received a scholarship to the Art Student’s League in New York. She paid her expenses by sketching cadavers for medical schools, illustrating children’s books, painting portraits, sharp shooting, and performing rope tricks and Indian dances on the New York stage. Some of her paintings were exhibited in the Immigrant Receiving Station on Ellis Island. When she returned to her isolated homestead in Idaho she lived by herself and for protection, slept with a revolver under her pillow.
Ms. Teichert eventually married and raised five children while keeping books for a ranch, cooking for the ranch hands and painting. She used to send her children to bed at 8 and then paint until midnight. Today, several of her paintings are displayed in the Museum of History and Art in Salt Lake City while still others can be seen on the campus of Brigham Young University.
Once she was asked to paint several murals in an LDS Temple in Utah that were expected to take an artist two years. Ms. Teichert completed the work in 23 days. “A painting is finished when the story is told,” she said.
Now, what if Ms. Teichert had become so upset with Mr. Vanderpoel’s criticism that she had dropped out of art school? Many great works of art would never have been produced and the world would be that much poorer because of it.
I had a friend once who worked five years as a lab technician in an El Paso hospital. One day he became upset by a supervisor’s criticism and walked off the job without the customary ten days notice. Because he could not handle the criticism, he virtually lost five good years of work experience because he could no longer use that position as a work reference. He hurt only himself.
In Hebrews 12:5-7 we read, “…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If you endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”
If we love our children we will fuss at them when it is needful in order to keep them safe and to protect and to nourish them with the good things of life. I can appreciate now, if not at the time, the many chastisements I received of my parents and teachers. I know now that it was only because they thought I was worth it.
Yes, Minerva, you—ah, there is no end!