Your usually fidgety daughter is spellbound, sitting perfectly still through a famous ballet company’s performance. As the curtain falls, she turns to you dreamy-eyed and says, “I want to be a ballerina.” Well, before you go running out to buy a bunch of tutus…STOP!
Even savvy parents can be baffled when their child expresses a new interest in an unfamiliar field. So the real question is: Is this a passing fancy or a real, Eureka moment? Guess what? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is how a parent encourages a child’s interest in the performing arts without getting bamboozled, wildly overspending, or turning into “Mama” or “Papa Rose.”
Time To Explore
By expressing a curiosity in the arts, your child is off on an adventure with many possible outcomes. Don’t worry about whether your child will become a professional artist. Artistic yearning doesn’t necessarily equate with a career path or even a college scholarship. For example, a ballet student may realize that dancing is not for her and instead opt for a career in medicine. But, perhaps, if your son portrays Atticus Finch in the school production of To Kill A Mockingbird, he just might be inspired to become a lawyer. The real point is that a parent’s focus should be on the exploration—or the journey—rather than thinking about the destination— or where this interest might lead. But where does a parent begin? Read on.
Explore All The Arts Parents should keep a wide focus and expose their child to a wide variety of arts by attending plays, concerts, and exhibitions. Watch for signs of interest as your child responds to each experience. For example, Anne Wright of Atlanta, Georgia, allowed her son Thomas to balance piano lessons with his skateboard instruction. However, when she took him to see a touring Impressionism show, she was surprised by his reaction. “We walked into a room of Monet’s Water Lilies and Thomas said ‘Whoa!’ and sat down on the floor, overwhelmed by the colors.” Today, a decade later, he leaves to study painting at the Maryland Institute of Creative Art.
By Heather Dundas of Arts Edge