Cara Hill was at a photography conference in Florida when a family emergency occurred with a photographer, and sadly another photographer’s child had taken their life. This was totally shocking to the family, friends and community at the conference. The devastated Mother did not see any signs of depression or mental illness in her child before he took his own life.
This inspired Cara Hill, a local photographer of Southeast Missouri, and led her to realize that she sees the age group of 8-15 typically being overlooked.
Because of this, Cara came up with “Meet Me in the Middle: Tween Portrait Experience”. Cara feels that tweens are usually forced to pivot to the views of the parents; being molded and shaped, forced to conform to their opinions instead of parents pivoting and “meeting their tween in the middle”. Cara feels that parents should be encouraged to meet their tweens in the middle to learn more about how their children operate inside and out–all of their likes and dislikes–although they might be different. She states that this is not to compromise parenting, but getting to know their children on a deeper level by reconnecting with their tween, and to reveal otherwise unnoticed emotions and thoughts that go on under the surface.
“Even though your tween may act like they don’t want to hear that you think they're awesome, really deep down they do.” - Cara Hill
Cara thought about how she could help create positive change in her community around this. Knowing that kids can always use more positive affirmation from their parents, she brainstormed ideas to help with this cause in her local community. Being a photographer, Cara has experience with positive affirmation and the wonderful impact it can have on someone. Hearing, “you have a beautiful smile” can change the whole photo experience with Cara. Knowing that a fun, positive photoshoot instills confidence in children and pairing that with her idea of parents meeting their child in the middle, Cara thought that seeing positive words next to a child being completely themselves in a photo would be a wonderful reminder of how they’re loved. And thus, Cara had the idea of taking affirmations from parents to their tweens and printing them on a canvas next to a wonderful photo of themselves.
You can find Cara’s “Meet Me In The Middle” Campaign showcased at Speck Pizza in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Here is one of the tweens featured!
Cara’s heart for the tweens has inspired us here at Jackson Audio and Music Supply to look at our tween students and JAMS customers. We want to share how special they are. They mean a lot to us and since we meet with them weekly, we would love to join and collaborate in building awareness and spreading Cara’s mission about “Meeting in the Middle.”
With that being said, here are three things parents could do to meet their JAMS Tween Musicians in the Middle:
- Have a meaningful conversation about what has been most enjoyable about their weekly lessons or time spent in music. Not to be open ended, but to spark a deep conversation about something that makes their hearts happy. Is there something as a parent you can do to pivot and make things better instead of demanding excellence from their music lessons?
- When is the last time you sat down, undistracted, and listened to a complete song or practice material with your child and followed up with words of affirmation and encouragement? When is the last time you’ve told them how proud you are of them? This would be a great opportunity to do so!
- If you play an instrument, have you tried playing with them and having a JAM session?
Cara is running a photography campaign throughout the summer where tweens can have a fun photoshoot with her through her business at “Cara Hill Photography”. Parents will get to submit words of affirmation for their child, and Cara will print the photos and words of affirmation from the parents on canvas in a beautifully arranged group of wall art. If you are interested please reach out to Cara today at (573) 624-0110.
JAMS Music Lessons students can enter to win a gifted sitting that is valued at $200 and a free consultation to set up the ideas on how you want to do the session: clothing, location, props, etc. The children will be encouraged to take photos with their instruments! If you are interested in entering for this gift from Cara, please email Molly at email@example.com.