I remember where I was when, as a child, I realized I might be good at something. I was in 5th grade walking home from school feeling badly about myself because many of my friends were busy preparing for their weekend activities. They were cheerleaders and dancers and even though we were only 11, they had already found their *place* and were excelling in something that made them feel successful. This success made them want to work harder which consequently limited their time and made me feel left out. So on this walk home from school I was giving myself a pep talk (I still do this, don’t judge me) and started to list the things I enjoyed and thought I was suited for.
Drama was at the top of my list. At the tender age of 11, I hadn’t had many opportunities to explore Theatre Arts outside of the occasional Christmas pageant (darn you, state of Texas and your limited arts offerings in elementary school) but I knew enough to know that my natural abilities lent themselves to the dramatic. After that walk home from school, I primarily focused my efforts on the performing arts and eventually ended up teaching high school Theatre and dabbling a bit in professional acting and directing.
My older boys are only 8 ½ but we have been searching for an activity that would make them feel successful. Of course, I encouraged theatre but we have also tried baseball, football, soccer, scouts, basketball, karate, art and even choir. My kids make friends easily and are happy to try most endeavors but truly finding their *place* has eluded us. Until now.
In October, my boys auditioned for the holiday show being produced by the Wylie Acting Group for Children. This amazing organization can’t accommodate every child who’d like to be in a show but if you’re cast in the play, you provide your time, talents and costumes. That’s it. No outrageous participation fee or mandatory ticket purchases which might exclude some families in this economic climate. My boys were both given roles in T’was the Night Before Christmas and have truly relished every minute of the production process. The memorization, the late nights, the hard work – all of it. This is the first activity we’ve ever done where they spend the day asking me, “how long until we get to go to practice?” I also find them talking about it to their friends and family which tells me how special this project has made them feel. They didn’t get the biggest roles and they don’t have the most lines but being a part of this show has been really wonderful for them.
Look, I know that they may not stick with theatre forever. Their father has a music background and hopes to start them on drum lessons soon – maybe one of them will find that playing an instrument is their true passion. But even if they don’t I can tell you this: finding something that makes you feel successful is priceless and that confidence can carry you through when you find yourself struggling in other areas just to keep up.
For those interested in the work the Wylie Acting Group for Children is doing, I invite you to see the show this weekend and check it out for yourself:
Friday, Dec. 9th, 7:00pm
Saturday, Dec. 10th, 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Ticket info available at wagforchildren.org
Pictures with Santa and hot cocoa available before the show!