"In the third grade — I was a terrible student most of my life, because my mind was always out the window wondering about other things. But I drew, from the time I was about 4 or 5 years old. That was how I amused myself. But it was underneath the table, you know, on my knee.
"And so this teacher caught me one day. She forced me to come up in front of the class and show what was more important than listening to the lesson.
"So I was about to be really trashed, humiliated, and I went up and I held up this thing. And she said, 'You wanna tell us what that's about?' And so I described [it]; I said, 'Well yeah, these are cowboys and they're chasing the Indians, and they're shooting at the Indians and the Indians are shooting back at the cowboys, and they're about to be driven off a cliff, and above them are some B-51 bombers bombing the cowboys.'
"So what happened was, the class was interested in it. And she saw that. Instead of putting me down, she made a deal. She said, 'We'll put an easel up here, and every Wednesday we'll give you 15 minutes, and you can come draw a story for us — but then you gotta pay attention.'
"Now had that not happened, I would have been humiliated. It probably would have knocked me down to not trust that impulse that I had. Sometimes — I don't know about you — but maybe one or two [encouragements] in your life is all you need to spur you forward, rather than have you collapse." -- Robert Redford
From the NPR interview Redford: An Entertainer Who Looks To Inform