Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All the world's a stage

I'm constantly amazed by the wealth of opportunities available to our kids. There are more after school activity options and sports leagues than I remember existing when I was younger. Though I'm not one to drown my kids in after school activities, I am a big believer in encouraging them to find activities, interests or hobbies that they can get excited about, connect with and in which they can immerse and invest themselves. For many years, I tried to convince my daughters to get involved in drama but nobody seemed interested. I went to a small school with no drama program when I was younger and realize that I might have romanticized the whole experience I never had but I was convinced that youth theater would be a good thing for our kids. Theater experience would enhance comfort with public speaking; kids could bond with their cast-mates; and the audition process meant taking chances and risking disappointment. Theater could be a testing ground for life - you know, all the world's a stage...

Finally, over the last two weeks, our two younger daughters both performed in their middle school plays. Each loved the experience so much that they're already planning the next audition. I am so proud of them both and thoroughly enjoyed seeing both plays, several times. I am so pleased that they tried and delighted that each saw it through. I can't wait for the next play!

I strongly believe that we need to encourage our children to take chances and to develop interests to which they commit themselves. I grew up in Montreal where all the little boys would go to hockey practice in the wee hours of the morning - when I think of the choices our kids might have made (not to mention those activities they tried and got over), I'm so glad that they've chosen piano, art, swimming, basketball, horseback riding and, now, musical theater. Whatever the interest of each might have been though, I'm just so glad each of our daughters has been willing to take chances and try things out.

A most delightful new book that's right on topic is If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade.The illustrations are outstanding and when they connect with the simple but meaningful text, they convey the message we all know to be critical: spread your wings and take a chance, see what you can do and where you might go and what that might mean.  Endeavor to fly!

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