Last night my daughter was in a performance for her ballet school. She was all dolled up in her ballerina dress and her hair & makeup were perfect. Ava has been taking ballet and tap dancing for going on 3 years now and she has made remarkable strides as far as her balance and timing are concerned and we couldn’t have been prouder of her last night! She was beaming as she performed to “What A Wonderful World” and “See You Later Alligator” and I couldn’t have been happier for her.
Ava is also taking violin lessons. This is something that she has been interested in for a while now and we are completely supporting her. I’ve always wished that I could play an instrument (the saxophone would have been MY choice) and so for her to be curious about music and how to make it is very cool to me. Ava has a very strong sense of what she likes and dislikes and when it comes to music, she is very opinionated. So…as time goes by, I will be curious to see how her interest in violin progresses.
As for the title of this posting, last night as I was watching Ava and hundreds of other little girls and teens perform, I noticed something that made me think about the idea of “God-given ability.” Of course, at a young age it’s hard to tell who has a talent and who doesn’t. But then again….sometimes it’s not. I was watching as these girls danced and even though I’m not a dance critic or someone who knows all the steps in a performance, I could tell you who had the ability to dance at a higher level and who was working really hard at it but wasn’t quite as good as the others and then there were the girls who were probably there because their parents decided it would be a good idea for them to do something as an extracurricular activity. And so it makes you think and wonder…what are MY kids’ natural abilities? Hell…at this stage…what are MY natural abilities? Do I have any?
This struck me as interesting so I just thought I would write about it. I’m not slamming on the kids who weren’t as good as the others, and I’m not slamming on the parents or the school who keep their children in dance even though it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t really very good dancers. Maybe the child LIKES to dance, and even if they do look like Elaine doing the funky chicken, as long as it’s fun to them, why not let them dance? But at some point, when do we realize that we have that ability to be a great dancer or a great performer or great athlete. When do we figure out our calling and why we are here?
Now maybe the age of 5 is a little early for such thoughts…but I would imagine most kids are facing those issues in high schools all over the country right now as they graduate and head to college. I know in my case, I’ve always been gifted doing what I’m doing now. It’s always been my interest and I’ve always been successful at it. Doesn’t mean it’s MY God-given ability. Who knows? Maybe I’d make an awesome used car salesman? I dunno. But I’d like to think that the reason I’m here and doing what I’m doing is because it’s what my talent dictates and not because I can make a paycheck doing it.
Which brings me back to the original thought on all of this. Ava is showing remarkable strides in all of her interests. She enjoys dance and she is excited about learning to play the violin. Same goes with Christopher. He’s playing every sport and loves the competition more than I ever did. I just hope that both of them learn what their natural talents are and run with them. Life is so much easier that way. And hopefully their talents have something to do with performing open-heart surgery and professional basketball. Not sayin’ that I have dreams…but a parent has to have SOMETHING to look forward to…right?