If These Walls Could Talk

I read a blog the other day, that was talking about 12 things every dad should do with their kid each year and how important it is to make moments with your child. It got me to thinking it is so important to make memories as a family. The article went on to say that by engaging in activities with your child, this helps spark their creativity and passion, that it’s like seeds laying dormant waiting to be awakened. By exposing our kids to these experiences and by sharing in these experiences with them, I feel they feel supported and can let loose and grow as a human being. As I always do, I try to find a connection of how this can be applied to theatre and more specifically the type of program we have at OBCT.

The most obvious tie in is to see a show with your kid. Certainly, it might be exposing them to something that can inspire and ignite a spark of passion in them. That’s how it happened for me. When I was 11 years old, my mom took me to see a touring production of “Annie” in Birmingham, Al and I new right then and there, I needed to be up on that stage with those little girls. Now although I never landed a national tour, theatre has afforded me the rich and blessed life I have lived and continue to live.’

By taking classes in the arts, you are allowing your child the opportunity to be mentored and guided and exposed to the very thing that has sparked their curiosity and interest. Although, you as a family don’t directly share the class involvement, unless you help out with the class,  you share in the memories they relay to you every time they hop into the car after class. As they get older, they may act all cool like they don’t want to share any feedback from the class, but deep down inside if it’s truly something they have a passion for, they want someone to share those thought with and to support them.

Wow, being in a show certainly fits the bill on providing a creative outlet for your child. It’s like providing your child with multiple life lessons in one fail swoop and better yet they are building friendships along the way. All while pursuing their passion. It’s a win win all around.

While all those things are important, it is my hope that we have established something more at OBCT and I hope more children’s theatres around the country do as well. We say, our goal is to connect kids, but also know we connect families. Sure in our situation, we travel together to competitions and retreats which naturally helps us get to know one another together and form a bond. But I also think we connect families in the day to day life. If the walls in our studio could talk, you would see countless memories of families who have shared births of babies, deaths of loved ones, graduations, new pets, shared journeys through cancer and other terminal illnesses, awards that have been won, celebrated personal victories all shared with our extended family members at OBCT.

I know in my personal experience, it truly does take a village to raise a child and my family at OBCT has helped me raise my children. They have donated clothing, toys, fed my kids, worked magic to get them to sleep as babies, schlepped them through airports for me, come to my home at 2am in the morning to babysit while I see about a family emergency. All of these things would not have been possible without my OBCT family and the memories we have made together. This connected family we have here  and the memories we create every day, are what fuel my passion and my own children and continue to spark our creativity every day. You can’t  do life alone. We need each other.

To the Mom of the Screaming Preschooler

Got your attention? Good, I want to talk to you. I know you are frustrated. Did you have to carry your child out of Ballet class this week screaming or off the soccer field or out of the gymnastics place? We have all been there, and let me assure you this is no reflection on you as a mother or has any effect on the future success of your child’s achievements. Dear moms, this too shall pass and although it may feel like a million eyes are watching or judging you, I am sure the other parents just feel compassion and know what it feels like to be in your shoes. Remember, God never gives us more than we can bear and I truly believe that these little tests God puts out there, are meant to strengthen our faith in him and show us that if we just rely on him, he will always give us the strength to press on.

I have so been right there where you are. My daughter tried gymnastics when she was four. After the third class, the instructor came out and suggested to me that maybe gymnastics wasn’t her thing because she cried the entire hour of all three classes. My son did the same thing at soccer and karate. And let me tell you, at the time I was mortified and convinced my young children would fail in life because they didn’t have a passion by age 5. I felt like a failure as a mother. The thing is though, we can’t force a passion on our kids. Their passion is their gift from God and it may take them a lifetime to find it and our only job as parents, I believe, is to expose them to a variety of things to let them be able to discover it themselves.

So don’t be discouraged or embarrassed by these public outbursts from your kids. I know it’s no fun carrying a preschooler rigid with dead weight kicking and screaming to the car. We all have been there and you too will survive. Just remember this too shall pass.