Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Serious Question

Steve and I were sitting on the front porch steps last night watching Trynica run around. She would run from one end of our yard to the other, spin around, and say, “I want much more than this ovential [provincial] life!” Then she would walk around holding up a book in front of her face, then come up to me and say, “I just finished the most wonderful story about a beanstalk and an ogre!” Then she would go sit on the edge of the lawn and talk to imaginary sheep sitting to either side of her…this is her life right now, acting out scenes from Beauty and the Beast. This is our life.

This also leads to dramatized reactions to other things. For example, on Sunday morning I was trying to get a sliver out of Steve’s foot. Tryn walked up and put her hand over her mouth with the exclamation, “Oh!” Then, with her hand moved up to cover her eyes, she said, “That is so gross!” Hilarious.

Tryn loves to dance, loves to sing, and loves to walk around the house pretending to play instruments (especially the trumpet and trombone). She loves to act out scenes from movies.

Here is my serious question: Do we pursue that or run the other way as fast as we can (i.e. ignore it for as long as possible:))?

I always said that I would want to and let my kids be whatever they wanted to be. However, as much as I love dancing and would love to go to every single dance recital, I don’t want Tryn to be a dancer. The majority of dancers are anorexic and deal with lots of broken bones and joint issues. I also don’t want Tryn to be an actress. I don’t want her to end up with that kind of unhealthy lifestyle that many actresses have and I don’t want her life to be that publicized. She is too sensitive to have the harsh life of an actress. Maybe she could be a singer, but that is also a hard life. Now, these are all to the grandest extreme that acting, dancing, or singing could lead to…however, I feel like the fact that we can see these things in her at such a young age could really bring her somewhere far along those roads.

I always said that I would work to notice what my kids were good at and really develop them in those areas. If they were good athletes I would notice that and make sure they were able to use that skill. If they were good at math or sewing or art or science, I would try to notice that and really encourage them in those areas. I don’t want their natural abilities and talents to be wasted.

But, here I am, struggling over the decision to enter Tryn in some dance classes for the fall. She would love it. And it could be nothing, just something fun for her to do. But it could be something…I know, I know, I should just not worry about it. And believe me, we are going to just let her be a kid no matter what. No pressure to do anything or be anything when she is 5 years old, which is ridiculous. However, if I was going to stick true to my promise to myself that I would develop the natural talents of my kids, I should really get her dance lessons. Or music lessons.

For those of you who don’t know, my amazing and musically gifted husband Steve has had about three years of piano lessons his entire life…two of those years were in college. He has never had guitar lessons and plays guitar in front of hundreds of people every week. So, this is a topic that hits close to home for us. Steve is not unhappy with his life or where he is at, but his life could be vastly different if he had taken music lessons from the time he was three. So, I am just thinking, "Why couldn't she be really good at coloring or drawing?" :)

What do you think? I am looking for any opinions, so don’t be afraid to be honest! Please let me know what you think...whatever that might be.


Alissa said...

Just a thought....have you asked her if she had to choose, what kind of classes or activities she'd want to do? It sounds like she's pretty opinionated, she just might have an idea. Then just pick one...try it, and if it doesn't work, go into the other thing...there's no reason someone can't experiment in different talents, especially at such a young age. Then when they're able to make better decisions about what they do & do not like, they can tell you what they'd like to pursue more. Just ramblings & thoughts from a non-mom. ;-)

Quadruple Life said...

What a wonderful mom you are Heidi . . .

My two cents:
God instills us with gifts that He intends to use to glorify Himself in whatever capacity He sees fit. If the child is meant to dance, act, sing, play music, or none of the above, God will ensure that her gifts are used—eventually. It would be so much easier and more pleasant for you if you follow His leading and let Him figure out the details. (Which I know you and Steve are already doing).

I hear the protective mother's voice in your post—because I think and feel the same things for Caleb. I DO NOT WANT the boy to play hockey or football for obvious injury reasons, and other social reasons. But I can't protect him from the world either. . . I can only teach him and guide him in such a way as to make him strong enough to change it.

The beautiful (tryn) and the brave (caleb) are very often in danger of the enemy's lies. Our job as their mothers is to make them wise and strong in addition to their beauty and bravery—and to pray fervently . . . and then let them go, trusting that the Father loves them more than we ever could.

If you are committed to encouraging Tryn's gifts, sign her up for dance—and if possible, do it with her.

love ya . . .


Kayla said...

I think that you should narrow it down to three choices and let her pick. It's not like she has to keep at whatever she picks the rest of her life. If she doesn't like whatever you put her into you can try something else after awhile. Also, there is a lot of different kinds of dance out there, ones where they are not as likely to starve themselves as ballet... like ballroom or jazz... or at least you don't hear as much about it that is and I think you can start kids in those classes when they are little just like ballet.

Kevin said...

First a question... What happened after she stared at the caterpillar for a while? Is the caterpillar still alive? Did she set it down gently? Did she fling it? Did she eat it? Did she name it? Did she say, "Mommy can I keep it?" I firmly believe the answer to this question will help you know what direction to nudge her in.

She's like sand in your hands. Don't squeeze too tight. You can steer her from behind but let her think she's steering from the front just like those push wagons with the steering wheel for the kid and the handlebar for the parent.

If you push her in one direction firmly but gently, she might adapt and learn to like what ever it is, especially if she has talent, even if she doesn't show signs of "liking" it now. On the flip side, things she is a natural at now may fade. Kids in general make-believe on a level that is far superior to adults. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll fit well later into an acting career. Also, if you push too hard, she might eventually rebel and hate playing piano, fixing cars, or ballet - whatever she got pushed at too hard. But then later after rebelling, she might reassess in her twenties and be fine and blossom into her calling anyway because God had her in is hands all along.

So, just guide her and when she runs the other way, cheer her on, as long as she's not running with scissors or towards the Army recruit office or one of those Salmon packing jobs in Alaska that sound oh so adventurous to many young kids or that job at the candle and doily shop at Mall of America.

I must say that the quote about the ovential life is quite remarkable.

Words/Wonder said...

If you think she'd love the class let her try it. Maybre what you really are seeing in her is not an aptitude for dance or music specifically but for creativity. That can be fostered in a number of ways. Life will also expose her to new experiences & opportunities.

Kristy said...

I think you have some pretty good friends with some pretty good advice here. I guess my two cents is to remember that she is still young, entering into classes won't determine what she'll do for the rest of her life- the key is not to make it her life. If a child shows interest in gymnastics and is good at it at such a young age, its the parents decision really to pursue that life for their child. They're the ones that takes them to the classes and urges them to be in the olympics. Their life is that activity, not just because they life it but because that's the life their parents are encouraging. I don't think there is harm is taking classes, she could learn skills that she uses later in life in ways you might not expect. The key is to make sure those activities aren't her main focus and her sole life, and that God is and all of her talents and abilities will fall into place where they should.

You guys do a great job at encouraging your children to be who they are and letting their characters shine. Just beware (I've heard this from almost every parent I know that have older kids and battled this same questions you do...) that it is very easy to get caught up in the business of all the activities your kids are in and/or want to do. Lessons are the beginning, and then tournaments and shows and so on- and of course you want to see your kid be the best they can be. So just remember that regardless of what you decide, its up to you as to how obsessive that activity will become.

Kids have the capability to learn so much and their imaginations are at an ability greater than ours. Encourage that. Like I said, lessons won't hurt, but then not having lessons won't hurt either. Steve may have been a super rockstar if he'd had more lessons as a child, but then how would your life be now? Everything happens for a reason.

Hope that makes sense. :) Love ya!

omabear said...

What I see is a super-sensitive child that lives in an imaginary world all her own. She can not handle alot of commotion,noise,etc., She does better on a one to one basis. EX: At her birthday party when we showed up she was Tryn, as soon as more people came Tryn put herself in this bubble-protection
like state, things were overwhelming for her. When the last person left and it was only you, the girls and us left, you could see she felt comfortable to come out of her bubble, like she popped this surrounding layer around her and she was back to herself, kind of like FREE(.You'll see it in her birthday pictures .)
You see the dance part in her, because she was made to worship God in dance. Heidi, remember when you were at our house once you said to me out of all the music you let Tryn listen to, you noticed that her favorite was WORSHIP music. That she just loves to dance with it. There is a reason for that. When Tryn was very young I remember going to church with you guys and during worship-singing HER HANDS were LIFTED HIGH for such a young one. God showed me that she belongs to HIM. Remember the song, "Oh, be careful little ears, what you ear, oh, be careful little eyes what you see and so on...." What enters into the heart/soul stays there...Tryn was made for purity in CHRIST.To touch the world through Christ. It's your job and those in Tryn's young life to help her heart stay pure and true for Christ. Don't push her into dance classes to soon I think a few more years at home with just mom and dad would be good for her. Remember the" WORLD" can be cruel. And why grow up so fast when we were meant to have the heart of a child anyways. (There are people that teach dance through worship).
Her imaginary world where she likes to be is an easier world with not so much pain. She can relate to it more and feels so ever free in there. I believe that those with a super-sensitive heart/spirit perfer to live there, cause we are not made for this present world.I do agree Tryn's 'acting' is very good. Is it a gift? And where do you go with it. Ask the Lord. Remember, no need to grow up to fast. You only get to live childhood once, so let them live as a free child with no extra heavy burdens that drag them down, otherwise they get crushed to soon.
I shared what I shared cause I can relate to Tryn of living in an imaginary world. I lived there from very young to this present day. I prefer to live there, there is more peace, joy and it's actually more real :)
You may wonder, Am I normal! No, by all means I'm not. Who wants to be normal. I'm special , I will always have the HEART of a CHILD, I know who my daddy is :) :) :) :) :) And I will always live in the world that is real. :) :) :) :) :) There is actually more adventure there.....Oh..so...real .....:) :) :) :) :)
Love, Mom

lhassler said...

I'm with Beth. Also, we lived in L.A. for three years and have lots of friends in the acting community. It's not all a dark side. There are plenty of very healthy, balanced people who act, dance and perform because it is what they are good at and what brings them joy.AND it is a huge ministry for them.

Sallychka said...

I like the comment about maybe waiting a couple years - which is NOT how I was going to comment, but after reading them all...I agree. If you do decide to give Tryn a choice and she does want to take a dance class, find a studio that is non-competition focused (I know of two in the northern suburbs - maybe too far for you). Even though the 3YOs wouldn't be competing, the "spirit" is there. Then there will be more focus on fun and development. A good friend advised me when I was asking these same questions, to just let your daughter do what she wants for as long as she wants. I desperately wanted Dariya to play piano and basketball, but she had no interest - AT ALL. But now, at 13, SHE decided she wanted to take piano lessons, and we have not had one struggle over practicing! She has a purpose in mind (to help her with her acting/singing and to have an in with musical boy she likes :) ) (Sorry - I know you're not ready to go THERE just yet!) So, even if that means two months of dance and you have to bow out just before making the down payment on the costume (although I'm sure Tryn would never turn down the costume!) - just do it for as long as it is FUN FOR HER. She needs the chance to explore what could become her dreams - she doesn't even know what they are yet. God is crafting them in her as she explores the options. Enjoy the variety she and He will bring!