As parents, educators and adults we are quick to jump on abilities shown by kids.
I see a lot of parents trying to find their kids’ talents and push them.
Parents trying to achieve greatness for their kids in something they have shown an aptitude for.
But are we robbing them of their right to explore more things by focusing their efforts too acutely from a young age.
By making it outcomes based rather than exploratory we are cheating them our of the greatest of freedoms that we only have as children.
By looking only at the end goal and forgetting the journey we are denying them one hell of an amazing ride!
As a ballet teacher we work towards 2 big goals each year – our end of year concert and ballet exams. Both goal-oriented activities but for me it is about the journey rather than the outcome. I work hard to educate our parents that the journey is more important than the end.
I, in all seriousness, actually do NOT care what mark a child gets in their exam (I know, shock horror!). I care that they worked to the best of their ability, that they prepared so they were confident and that their experience of performing for a small audience was enjoyable. That, when they come out of the exam, they have a smile on their face and in their heart.
For our concert, I don’t care what one single person in the audience thinks of the production. (I really don’t). I care that the kids enjoyed rehearsals, that backstage was a super chaotic fun place to be, that the dress rehearsals on stage are the BEST experience and that performing was pure joy.
When I look back at my dance education, I don’t remember who won what competitions, I don’t remember my marks and I don’t remember who got the lead role when. I remember the time in rehearsal we giggled so much we almost wet our pants, I remember doing partner work with Morgan that pushed my physical boundaries & made me proud of myself, and I remember eating peanut butter jaffles, alternating between drinking orange Lucozade and Ribena and consuming waaaaay too many ice blocks.
I remember joy.
My mum never intervened or forced me to do more ballet. I did it because I loved it. I loved my friends. I loved being able to jump high. I loved the autonomy of being at the studio on a Saturday all day. I loved working towards being on pointe one day.
But I really sincerely believe my mum never thought about me being a ballerina (or a ballet teacher & studio owner!). She just followed what I (and my sisters) loved and allowed me to explore it.
So back off a bit. Let your child enjoy a hobby without it becoming arduous and forced.
Let your kids explore.
Let your kids be kids.
Let them find their greatness later. It will come.