Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Dilemma: To Push, or Not to Push

To push or not to push, that is the question. (I know, I know, wrong play, but you get the point)

We have a dilemma, or rather, I have a dilemma regarding A. She has been taking drama classes at the local theater group, and initially she loved it because it was all fun and games in preparation of some real drama.

I spoke with the two teachers and they both raved about A, saying she was very good and a natural. The director even approached me, un-prompted (it took me by surprise) and mentioned that A did what theater folks refer to as "reaching deep within" to play her roles. She mentioned to me that she should try out for the ensemble group, which is a theater production company that puts on real productions on stage. Not for the faint of heart, requiring memorizing (A's forte), hard work and serious rehearsal. Plus, you have to audition and qualify, and several kids I spoke with have indicated that it is very difficult.

I thought it would be perfect. Not only could she be around quirky, interesting theater kids, the same ones who are not the prom queens or football captains (they can be mean). Most importantly, however, is that she would be in an environment where she was being challenged, working hard, but realizing the fruits of her labors in a way that was fun and rewarding. We noticed that there was a degree of hard work and diligence involved, and many things come naturally and easy to her. Because of this, when the going gets tough, she does not necessarily dig in her heels and persevere. There is a level of shying away from excessive challenge because so many things just come naturally to her.

Plus, I figured it was a cool way to find your place in the universe, to be on stage, and a good way to develop friendships with a group of kids that she'd see on a regular basis. Finally, I thought she really liked it.

Well, it turns out that she doesn't really like it, partly because of the hard work involved, and partly I'm thinking because it entails a degree of blunt constructive criticism. She's gotten used to people showering her with praise (I acknowledge that this largely our fault), because she is fairly competent at a number of things, and people (appropriately) let her know that of the good job she's done.

It's good for her, however, to get some criticism now and then and work towards a goal. Anyway, she doesn't want to do it, and the question now becomes, do we make her do it? She said that she doesn't hate the theater, and in fact likes it, but likes other things better, like pottery or summer camp or lighter productions like the school musical, where they get to be silly and wear costumes. Serious theater doesn't seem to be her cup of tea.

Unless, of course, we make it her cup of tea. I have this idea that if she just stuck with it and worked hard at her craft, there will be a magic moment where it'll all click, and she'll really be able to find herself. When you're working hard and under duress, it's difficult to see the big picture and realize that there is magic at the end of the road. All you see is the hardship at the moment, and that is what discourages people from ever reaching a goal, or for that matter, a dream.

Mind you, I don't have this goal of making our daughter an actor. It's just that I don't want to give up on something that she's good at and might like just because it's not always fun.

Oh well, what are you going to do?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to sanja gjenero for the pic.

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