This I Believe

Judith - Westwood, Massachusetts
Entered on November 25, 2007
Age Group: 65+


I believe that each and every human being can achieve greatness by pursuing his or her own passion.

Whether innate or environmentally determined or a little of each, passion is what you love to do, what you can’t wait to get up in the morning to expend your energy on, what keeps you going despite fatigue, hunger and even pain, what makes you feel at the end of the day (when you finally go to sleep, exhausted) that you have given your all in a worthwhile endeavor. Pursuing your passion makes you feel that you have lived every day as fully as possible. Passion can be found within each of us, if we only listen to its voice.

As parents, what we owe our children is to give them, on the one hand, as broad and multifaceted an education as possible and, on the other, a feeling of self-confidence so that when they grow up they will be aware of the choices available to them and have the belief in themselves to pursue the choice that they feel passionate about. In my own case, I was given an excellent education – of high school, college and even law school. But I was not given enough self confidence to pursue my own passion. Although I had the talent to graduate from one of the top law schools in the country (the University of Chicago Law School) first in my class, my heart was not in the pursuit of law but rather in art. It took me many years to gather the strength to resist the pressure my family put on me to follow in their path. I have told the story of my struggle to pursue my passion in my recently published book MY LIFE INTO ART: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. I was already in my thirties when I began studying art. Then, over a period of four decades, I created numerous art series, many dealing with the human condition, including war, genocide and the Holocaust. My artworks have been extensively exhibited in museums and other public institutions and are in scores of public collections. My archives are at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

It is important for us as parents not to pressure our kids to pursue a specific career but rather to give them the wherewithal – both educationally and emotionally – to find their own way and pursue their passion. I believe that it is only by pursuing our passion that we can achieve greatness, whether that greatness is measured by our feeling of accomplishment or by our contribution to society.