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    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Playground Politics

    This last Friday Emma tried out for her school talent show assembly. She was so excited to do it, and even though we only had 2 days notice to practice, we threw together a song from Toy Story 2 for her to sing. She has a beautiful voice, and gets lots of practice singing Primary songs every night in bed. But you can't sing Primary songs at school.

    We waited patiently for her turn, clapping after each and every child played their instruments or sang their songs. One child in particular even played a song with one finger, one note at a time. There were also 2 guitar players, and they were pretty good.

    Finally, it was Emma's turn. She was nervous, and so was I frankly. I knew she would do well, but it's a very scary thing for a second grader to get up in front of her peers and sing. I started playing, and she came in right on cue. Every note perfect. She even held the last notes like we had practiced. Perfect. I was so proud of her.

    Monday they announce the finalists for the assembly. Guitar players, check. Karate kid, check. Girl that played the piano with one finger and one note at a time, check. Emma the singing wonder kid, nope.

    What? You ask? Let's just say I'm pretty sure that if I was at the school all day everyday like one finger piano playing girl's mom, Emma would be in the assembly. Why do they have to crush the dreams of second graders? Why can't there be a class talent show so all the kids can do what they wish? And why is it that I know life is full of disappointment, but I feel like I want to shelter my kids from that as long as possible?

    I used this as an opportunity for growth, stating such obvious facts as "you have talents that can't always be shown in a talent show", and "I know you are more talented than all of those kids put together". And yet she still cried. And I felt like crying with her. I feel guilty for not being more involved in her classroom, knowing if I was, she wouldn't be dealing with this. I feel guilty for feeling guilty about that, knowing that I don't want to be part of the politics of second grade. But what's a mother to do? Do I call the teacher and ask why? Do I just let it go and forget the heartache I saw on Emma's face that day? Do I enroll her in piano lessons so she will learn how to play the piano with one finger, one note at a time?

    I've always said parenting gets harder as kids get older. Not the kind of parenting where you're up all night, or not sure which shape of binkie to buy. But the kind of parenting where you have to pray constantly for guidance and help. And now I know I have entered that realm of parenting. I pray everyday for the safety and well-being of my kids. And now I pray that some how they can overcome the challenges of life and use those challenges to make them better people. It is what we all have dealt with, but I was just hoping I could put it off a little longer. At least until third grade.

    5 Response(s):

    kylie said...

    yeah, i'm not looking forward to the crushing of my kids dreams either. i still remember all the times it happened to me. but at least i did grow and learn. ;)

    Brittany said...

    Are you kidding me?? That is so awful! I know we all face rejection at some point in our lives, but honestly.... one-finger-piano-playing kid made the talent show?? I could see Emma not making it if she walked into the auditions with a pole and wanted to dance in black leather, but singing??? C'mon now! Even if she totally sucked... IT'S A FREAKIN' ELEMETARY SCHOOL!!!

    Keli said...

    Hey, pole dancing is a great idea, a la "Little Miss Sunshine". Maybe next year....

    Bonny Brae said...

    that is amazing they don't let everyone participate.

    at our school's "talent show" they try out, but it's mostly to get the timing right and play american idol - seriously - it's american idol - the director gives them a little critique and off they scamper - hilarious.

    the rehearsals' are the same.

    i'm sorry about emma - i would be mad too.

    Michelle said...

    I am sorry Emma that you didn't make it. You are still a winner in my book. If it was my talent show, you would be the number one pick. Keep up your dreams. There will be some rejection, but you will grow from it. You are still young and you have a full life ahead of you. Love ya.