Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
First of all, thank you to all the folks who told me that my daughter’s love of t.v. does not negate my child rearing philosophies as far as raising a child with an academic, creative, compassionate mind and spirit. You’re right. She’ll be okay.
One sign of this has been brought out at school, of all places. Even though Small says her least favorite thing at school is “the learning” I am pleased to say her posting on the kindergarten’s bulletin board in the hall says that she wants to be a writer.
At last! A writer! Not a, oh, I don’t know, professional t.v. watcher? She started working on her book last night. She is using her scrapbook paper and colorful pens. She asked for some help and I couldn’t because I was in the middle of something (guests are here this week.) She’s learning her phonics and went ahead and wrote anyway. I can’t wait to find out what she does.
I started doing these mini-shows at church, Kidz Inc. This month I play a very appearance conscious girl whose mother has accidentally dyed her hair like a clown’s wig. A few months ago, when I first started working on these projects I had to bring Small with me to the rehearsal. She loved it. A five year old sat through multiple run throughs, quietly and enthusiastically.
When the time came for the Christmas show she was the first, and only child to sign up by writing her own name. She did great, by the way.
She really loves it.
As far as that goes, I am almost as sad as I am with the television. I love acting, and I could only remember that after a detox of fifteen years. When I was a teenager I went to a school almost wholly designed to turn the theater teachers into bitter and cruel, albeit talented, megalomaniacs. I hung on desperately for those four years and sacrificed a lot to be one of their minions. I tried to get in to a conservatory – I got wait-listed. I acted in college (one show) and that was terrific, but I still had that bad taste in my mouth. I went to L.A. for a week. That was enough for me.
I don’t know if Small will be the all or nothing person I was, but I sort of hope she’s not. As I type this, I realize that if she wants to act, she can. She doesn’t have to try to win an Oscar to practice that art. One of the self-described “fat-white-guys” at Kidz Inc once told me, “If this gets so it’s not fun anymore, I’ll quit.”
I appreciate that. It’s easy for us to quit things we always hate – vacuuming, anyone? But it’s harder for me to quit things I once liked, or even loved. It’s like trying to break up with a boyfriend. It’s hard to have a clean brake. I want Small to express herself, but I don’t want her to have her soul destroyed on the way.
But everything can be like that, right? For me, when I had that old prestigious, political, semi-powerful, suit and make-up wearing job I was surrounded by some really great people, but also some that weren’t. Funny, though, I felt like there was significantly less political maneuvering in that job than there was in the Special Ed Department where I worked for four years. In a way that was worse: I could see the kids getting hurt over it. Life already stung, and it was only made more painful and poisonous.
So, from what I’m going on and on about I don’t need to worry too much about her Not Being In Theatre. She’ll move on, or she won’t, but pain will follow her anyway. Anywhere.