You may experience a moment of clarity and pride when you realize you have a talented child. But that moment will probably be followed by a mix of feelings: fear, hesitation, confusion. “He/she is different; I don’t know what to do to support him/her.” It helps to keep that moment of clarity in mind and remember what it is that will make your child happy. You don’t have to be a dancer or musician yourself to recognize the intensity or passion your child holds for an activity. I’ve learned over the years that Mom (and Dad) have certain built-in radar that shouldn’t be ignored.
What does your creative child like to do? And how intense is his or her interest? Does he dance whenever you play music in the house? Does he dance on the street or in the mall even when there is no music playing? Does she sing in the car when you play the top 40 hits…or does she sing to herself…constantly? There is a difference of intensity there.
But it can be uncomfortable to pursue dancing class or voice lessons for your son when everyone else in town is registering for Little League. Don’t let that stop you. After all, you are working to support your creative child – and ultimately, the only objective is for him or her to be happy.
My experience: In 6th grade, my eldest son found singing on his own – with no help from me. I was busy with his younger brother and sister during a time when I seemed so hectic and frazzled. He came home one day to tell me that his friends had encouraged him to join the chorus “because I sing all the time anyway.”
This was one of those mom radar moments. I stood up and took notice. Of course he should join chorus, I knew first hand that he was singing all the time – but I didn’t know this meant he could sing – I mean, really sing!
Fortunately for us, his school had a great music director who selected him for a solo, introduced him to A Capella; and recommended using a voice teacher. (Rock ‘n Roll came later!)
A friend who had pursued the arts in college, complimented my husband and me on supporting our creative son. She felt we were doing a very courageous thing and expressed that supporting creative children is not always an easy choice for families. She caught me off-guard – It didn’t occur to me that we would make any other choice: “How can we not support him when it makes him so happy,” I replied.
Now it’s your turn! Comment here and share your experiences – both good and bad – with supporting your creative child. Were others supportive of your choices? Did your radar love kick in at a critical moment?