They say honesty is the best policy, but sometimes a white lie can do a ton of good. Malay artist Nas Suha was inspired to share an example of such a deception on Twitter recently.
When Nas saw a tweet from an older sibling complimenting her 9-year-old sister's talent for drawing, he shared the secret way his mother encouraged his art as a child.
As a budding artist, Nas would give his drawings to his mom who would enter them on his behalf into a contest run by a Malay TV station. Or so he thought.
Last year, he learned it had all been a ruse. His mom believed in his talent so much, she made sure that, even if he hadn't won the official prize, he still felt like a winner. While it might have bruised his adult ego a little to learn all those toys and gifts he "won" really came from his mom and not the local TV station, the well-meaning deception had a powerful impact.
Nas is now a professional artist.
Nas credits winning those prizes (or believing he had) for continuing to develop his talent into adulthood. Now, creating art is not only his life's passion, but he even makes money through commissions and sale of his illustrations. In addition to owing a significant part of his livelihood to art, he gets to earn his living doing what he loves.
While he hasn't told his mom before sharing this story that the jig was up, chances are good she knows now or will soon. Nas's thread has been retweeted over 30K times. Though he has continued up until now to let his mom think she's still getting away with her ruse, he has shown his gratitude in other ways.
Using money from art he's sold or commissions he's completed, Nas has been able to grant wishes for his mom. And he hopes to inspire his kids to pursue their talents in the future.
Nas's talent is plain to see in the works of art he shared on his thread, but chances are good he would never have reached his full potential without his secret cheerleader encouraging him that his talents were worthy of praise. His work can be seen in public spaces too, like this mural in Kuala Lumpur.
As many commenters on the thread remarked, Nas's story proves you don't necessarily need to send your kids to elite schools to help them succeed. The most important thing is recognize their talents, and encourage them to keep practicing and developing, whether their passions lie in art, writing, science, or even cooking.