Please don’t get your kids involved in the arts. I know sometimes I can be a little sarcastic (just like Mount Kilimanjaro is a “little” hill) but, in this case, I mean it. Please don’t get you kids involved in the arts.
Your son or daughter may have shown an affinity for singing or dancing or play acting when they were very young. Most kids do. And some – maybe many – want to foster those skills, to get better and create even more beautifully and skillfully. But, please resist.
Here is why: Unless you are as committed to your child’s involvement in the arts as they are, the end result will be frustration. You, frustrated, at being asked to inconvenience yourself on a Saturday morning to drive your child to an early rehearsal. You, frustrated, when being asked to run lines or listen to a practice track or give feed back on some choreography. You, frustrated, that an entire weekend is spent in a theater, instead of doing all the things important to you. You, frustrated, at being asked, again, to help build a set or mend costumes or organize props.
And your child, the child who may desperate love something that isn’t very important to you, will know. He or she will understand that their love of the arts is trivial. And they will know that they are the oddball for not loving baseball or soccer or hunting or hiking or antiquing or whatever it is that you know to be what kids should be doing. And your child will know that if they perform, if they love the arts, that it will always be secondary to all the other important things. And, even if you allow them to perform, the accomplishments in front of an audience will never be quite as significant as their siblings’ accomplishments on the playing field in front of a roaring crowd or the like. And they will know that while they might want to be both an athlete and a performer, or a hunter and a performer, or statistician and a performer, that to the people who are important to them, the “and performer” part will always be just an add-on.
Please don’t allow your kids to get involved in the arts. If not for you, then for me. I cannot see one more child, with tears in their eyes, when they have to explain to their friends that their parents may not be able to make it to the performance. They had dinner plans or needed to bring the car to the shop or something very important.
Please explain to your kids how unrealistic it is to study the arts. Please tell them it’s impossible to get hired into any real job involving the arts. Please tell them that they need to study business or medicine or law or engineering and that none of those professions would ever rely upon the skills built in the arts – like creativity, public speaking ability, confidence, discipline, work ethic, ability to think clearly under pressure, or even the pure stamina it might take to be successful. And, please, belittle the importance of “happiness” in your chosen field of employment.
Don’t allow your child to get involved in the arts because you’ll feel like you need to placate them with platitudes. You’ll feel like you need to give compliments like “how great they were” or “how well they sang” or “how wonderful the dance” was. But it’ll just be placating. And your child will know. And you’ll both walk away disappointed.
Don’t allow your child to get involved in the arts. Because, ultimately, years from now, they’ll find it on their own anyway. And they’ll love it and know that it was where they should have been all along. And they’ll grow and see life in different shades of color and, ultimately, they’ll be happy. Happy to be a part of a world that they understand. Happy to be in a community that supports them. Happy to have opportunities to grow and learn and achieve and create. Happy to not be reliant upon you for acceptance.
Please don’t allow your child to get involved in the arts. You’ll be happier. And that’s what really matters, right?