Dance recitals and digging for talent...
Well it hasn't exactly been a thousand years since we last connected. So, I can skip the usual apologetic post that typically precedes my blog entry.
We can get right into it! Yippee!
So, yesterday was my son's first dance recital. Chile, I had been looking forward to it since the day I enrolled him in school. A close girlfriend of mine had shared her adorable photos from her son who previously attended the school. It fueled my excitement, and truthfully, was one of the major factors in me deciding to elect the center as our school of choice.
Finally, the day had arrived. I was anxious, nervous, excited and did not want anything to go wrong. There were a few glitches, but for the most part, we were at the school ahead of schedule, had what we needed, and I was so ready to watch my shining prince perform on stage for all the world (well, more like a small zipcode) to see!
My family and I sat through pure cuteness overload! Adorable little humans in tutus and tuxedos dancing rhythmically off beat, pulling on our heartstrings, giving us ample tear filled opportunities as they tapped and boogied and shook their little bodies to the music.
Of course, some were not feeling it. The stage, the lights, all of the people, were just too much! A few cried, one fell completely out (it was beyond hilarious), and some just stood there. The entire time, I was counting down. Holding my breath, and whispering prayers, "Lord, please let my little man do great."
The moment was here. It was his class's performance time. It was his turn. The curtains drew back, and I anxiously scanned the stage to locate my superstar.
And then I found him.
Sitting on the floor (all the way to the right on the end) with a look I knew all too well, but was hoping I was not going to see today. It was the look of," I am not feeling this, and I am not going to do this!"
This was my reaction (in my mind...)
Oh no! My heart sank. As his classmates danced, giving their parents great camera and video footage, my dear son, overwhelmed by the newness of it all, retreated and hid his glorious gift from the world (well, more like a small zipcode). All I kept saying was, "come on, baby, give me something! A hand move, tap one foot, anything!"
The most my child could offer was being brave enough to be there. That was all he could do.
I was devastated!
My husband looked over at me and saw the change in my demeanor. We sat through a few more performances, and it was now time for intermission. He grabbed my hand and walked me to the car. He sat me down, and in the most loving way, he shared with me the importance of how I saw and handled this critical moment. I was embarrassed that my child did not rise to the occasion and steal the show!
Then, my husband said something to me that shook my entire "parentalology." He said, "babe, I knew he was not going to do it. He said he did not want to. He knows what he wants. Like his parents, he is a bit of an introvert. That's ok. We are not going to compare him to the other kids, or penalize him for being who he is." My husband went on to tell me that he was committed to placing our son in a variety of activities until we found the thing at which he was good. And he would not stop until he found it.
I wanted to break down and cry. (I will tell you why in a little bit.)
A few years ago, I read a book called "Respectable Sins." (If you have never read it, you should get it.) There was a chapter in that book that talked about being braggadocious. IT talked about how we are unaware of the pride in our life and the places that pride like to hide. The book used an example of parents who take extra pride when their kids are star athletes, or amazing performers, or excellent students with high honors. These parents brag about their kids, treat them different than they treat their other children, and even pressure their "prize" children as they live through them and gain needed affirmation via their children's accomplishments. The book challenged the readers as this was not the way God treats His beloved children.
That was too deep, and I don't have time to unpack it in this post. I will say this:
Here is why I wanted to break down and cry.
In this moment, I was failing as a parent.
There are times when, if you are paying attention, you realize that your children are more than dolls you get to dress up and treat as puppets to act out your fantasies. These little humans are actual people with a will, real feelings, real desires, and gifts and talents and dreams of their own. It hits you that you have to do more that just babysit them and entertain them, but you have to actually raise them.
Often when we are confronted with these moments, we don't like them. These are the moments when you are sitting in the parent teacher conference and realize your child might need a tutor, and no, they do not just get common core math because it is the devil. It is the moment when you realize that as talented as they are, they lack discipline and focus, and you have to teach it to them before they squander away their gift.
It is the moment you realize, that kids don't automatically get it, but they need to be aimed and guided on purpose.
Wisdom nugget: You are not allowed to penalize or resent your children for having to put in the effort that it takes to raise them.
I have discovered that I can be busy taking care of my kids but not necessarily raising my kids. Raising my kids is more than making sure they eat and have clothes and get to school each day. Raising my kids means I understand these people that God has given me to develop. Each one of my children was created to contribute something valuable. Sometimes, that contribution is easy to identify. Sometimes that contribution is easy to manipulate, and we make our kids what we want them to be instead of who they were created to be.
What do you do when the contribution is not laying around on the surface? What happens when you have to dig, and put more effort into bringing out your child's God given gift?
Are you up for the task, or we will find you in the car throwing a pity party?
Mother's Day recently passed, and I wanted to write a post, but ya'll know I write when I am inspired. I wanted to give encouragement to each of you who are doing so much on any given day. We all appreciate how busy you are and all that you do.
Now, I am glad I waited because what I want to say to you now is that perhaps it is time to rethink being busy. Perhaps it is time to rethink what dominates our day. Perhaps we should do more of what counts and less of the shallow routine. Again, thank you for all you do, but let us keep what is important at the forefront. If my child does not make it into bed at 8:30 every night because we are discovering his talent for taking things apart and putting them back together then so be it. If it means adjusting the schedule, playing in the floor, or whatever, we will do what we must because we are not just women who do it all. We are women who do it all God's way. God is never rushed, He is never cookie cutter, He is always delicate and intentional. As He is, so are we.
God would not have me to be ashamed of my child because he did not dance in the recital. I put importance on that. My son is brilliant, full of life, and a gift to this world. I will NEVER forget that again. I will never pressure him to be something he is not. I will spend my days discovering who God created him to be. I will do that for all of my children. I will do that for everyone I encounter.
When the performance was over, his dad opened his arms as my son ran to him. He celebrated him like he was the star of the show!
Because to him, my son was the star.
He stood on that stage, and he did not run.
He was at least brave enough to endure.
How my husband was, was so how God is. With open arms, He loves us for who we are.
He teaches us to love others the same.
So, I am thankful for the lesson.
I am thankful for the reminder.
I am thankful that I get to actually raise my kids.
If I have to dig for that contribution, the effort is worth the time, patience, effort, wisdom and of course the putting on of my eyebrows.
Til next time...