"Our stories matter. They have power. And you never know who they’ll inspire."
Artist Lynell Jinks creates masterpieces on his childrens’ paper lunch bags every single week. He uses the images to inspire them to be passionate about their talents, and to pursue their biggest dreams. It sure beats PB&J.
You can see more of Lynell’s artwork below and on Instagram @brownbagbrowndad Opens in a new tab.
And you can read the message Lynell sent to our email list earlier today. If you’d like to get updates like this, you can sign up for our email list here.
I guess you could say it started with Iron Man.
Nearly ten years ago, my son Izaac's preschool class was going on a field trip and my wife and I were packing him a lunch. She asked me if I wanted to write his name on his lunch bag.
It occurred to me that even though I was an artist, my kids never got to see their dad draw. If I wanted to encourage my kids to be proud of their own gifts and use them in their own lives, I needed to start setting an example for them. So, I sat down and put Izaac's name on his bag — along with a quick sketch of Iron Man.
When he saw the bag, the beaming smile on his face alone affirmed the decision. But I knew I had more to give my kids than just a five-minute sketch.
I began to put a little more time into their lunch bags. The night before, I'd sit down with my color pencils for an hour or so — and I'd just draw.
I know Father's Day tends to be about celebrating the dads, but today, I'm thinking about our kids. Because if we want to teach our children to have passion and conviction for the things they love, we've got to start by showing them what that looks like.
Today, on Father's Day, join me by making a commitment to the next generation — however large, however small.
I paint an image on my kids' lunch bags every week of the school year.
Sometimes, they're fun — characters from their favorite movies or books — and other times, they're a way for us to remember meaningful moments together.
Like this one:
A few months ago, hoping to give our kids a more hands-on understanding of democracy, we took a family vacation to Washington, D.C.
We went to the Museum of African American History and Culture, where we traced the trek my people have made just to get where they are today, and took in the Obama presidency through the lens of that journey. Afterward, we watched the waterfall rain down at the museum's fountain and read the words of Dr. King — "We are determined. . . to work and fight until justice rains down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream" — and simply sat and reflected together.
We also had the opportunity to see the Obamas' portraits at the National Portrait Gallery — my kids' number one priority. It's hard to explain how powerful it felt, as a racially mixed family, to take in this beautiful piece of art depicting our first person of color in office.
After we got home, it was clear what I would paint on my kids' lunch bags.
This one was about reminding them to not to forget what they'd seen. Reminding them to stay inspired. Reminding them that anything is possible for them.
Every person out there has a special way they connect with the children in their lives. I draw pictures on lunch bags. What do you do?
The only reason you're hearing from me right now is because someone else shared my story. Our stories matter. They have power. And you never know who they'll inspire.
Thanks for listening.