Monday, April 23, 2012

Baryshnikov in Work Boots

What would have happened if Baryshnikov had not pursued dancing because his parents did not believe in him? If they felt that a boy should not dance, but should be in something more manly like construction ... trading his ballet shoes for steel-toed work boots. The world would have been deprived the beauty of his God-given talent. A dear friend of mine posted the personal story below on Facebook, and I thought I would share this story. Although a very simple story, it speaks volumes to some of the issues facing kids, parents and many adults alike.
"Yesterday my heart broke. The theatre in my school was rented for a large dance competition sponsored by a national chain that makes a lot of money. For the most part the competition was good and healthy and a focus of "doing your best at what you have trained to do" remained present throughout the day.
As I standing in a corner supervising a hallway, I witnessed a mom kneeling by her son and fussing over him to get him ready to go onstage. I would have guessed the boy to be in 2nd or 3rd grade. As typical as it was at first glance, I noticed the uncomfortableness in the mom and then heard her say, "boys aren't supposed to grow up to dance - i just dont understand this. We are supposed to be playing soccer and football with the other boys." My whole body chilled and it was hard for me to walk forward and say something. She gave him a hug and patted him on the back and said, "do your best" and sent him off as she wiped a tear that he never saw.

When the boy came of the stage I made it a point to find him (and mom was nearby). I leaned down and said, " you were awesome. was that fun?" He smiled and nodded his head "yes" and then looked up at his mom. I said, "did a good job." She replied, "thanks." and I went on my way.

It is an image I cant get out of my head today. So I guess I want to say, "thank you" to all of you that are parent and you play dress up with your kids, go camping, paint your toenails, play sports with your kids, and dance. Thank you for raising your kids to know that they can do anything and that you still love them just the same.

While what I witnessed was real and uneditied, I could go a long time and never have to see it ever again. I will also guess that it happens more than I will ever know."
What is your reaction to this story? Have you possibly said (or even thought this) about your child? Was this something you felt subjected to in your childhood? If you had witnessed this yourself and been in my friend's shoes, would you have said something as he did..... or would you have said even more?

I'm personally curious as I start to think about all the possibilities of what my son will want to take part in as he grows up ... what he will show interest in .... what he will want to try ... and finally what he wants to be. I feel my job as a parent is to expose him to as many of his options as possible and encourage his choices and interests. This is how I see my son shaping into the best possible teenager and adult. Do you agree?

Please feel free to leave a comment or share.