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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How "Different" Are Our Kids


Balletmom

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Yes, I think that these attributes are to be found within people who pursue things other than the performing arts. Think of all those budding young scientists, novelists, photographers, artists, journalists, veterinarians, linguists, athletes, etc., who burn the midnight oil or figure out ways to fund their interests and education! :thumbsup: Really, the list is endless.

 

Naturally since this is a ballet discussion board, I think it's understandable that people tend to generalize about the personalities of performing arts students, but just to give those who have talents or interests in other areas their due, I have to remind everyone that it's a big world out there, and there are incredibly devoted and determined children who are struggling and determined to achieve their goals against incredible odds that they need to overcome.

 

Three cheers for all of the students across the globe who are determined and focussed! :clover::):clover:

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I too have multiple kids with differing passions. My rowing son is out practicing at 5 AM, in snow, rain and other nasty weather. My gymnast practices while not always feeling his best. I would agree with DancesInHer Sleep that any passion keeps the kids on the right path. They all know that they not only need to follow their own path, but that the path often intersects with others' and they owe them the cortesy of following through in the same manner the dancing children learn the show must go on.

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AsleepATheWheel

Though I have already responded, while reading the additional posts since mine, I feel I must add this....praise and wonder for the 'average kid'. Since the majority of kids and adults are "average" we must consider what their/our place is in this world where such a high value is put on high achievers.

 

There is a definate joy in having an 'average' kid, the kid who decides to miss the game for a friends birthday party. The kid who is not so determined to make the 'squad' that practicing with an injury would sideline them for the season anyway. The kid who doesnt study for the test, fails and then comes to you and tells you what they have learned from the experience. The kid who does not make it into the Honor Society but scores perfectly on their driver's test. The kid who loves animals but doesnt plan ahead for a career by working at a vet, but decides instead to work at the mall for the fun of it. I have one of these kids, along with a driven dancing one, and I must say that at times, the 'average' one is a 'vacation' for my mind.

 

We must remember that all kinds of people make up this world. Perhaps in this current day and age, my 'average' kid, is really the one that is 'different'.......

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l2daisygirl

AMEN on the "average kid". I, too, am blessed with one of these, and she is the joy, and the balance, in my life.

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dancemaven
I'm just wondering if other passions teach the children quite so strongly as the performing arts that "the show must go on"? 

 

Quite simply, the answer is "Yes, they do". Does anyone remember Greg Louganis hitting his head on his next-to-last dive in the Olympics? His next dive was thrown for 9s and 10s. It is considered the best dive of his career. He won the gold---again.

 

And who doesn't remember Kerry Struggs vaulting on a broken ankle to help win Olympic Gold for the Atlanta women's gymnastics team?

 

I have several stories of my own diver who threw, and completed, dives she had no business being able to make under the circumstances that developed at the time. I'm sure all the parents with non-dks have their own stories that evidence the perserverance necessary for "the show must go on".

 

Aren't our shoulders stinging by now? at least a little?

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Thanks, AsleepATheWheel -- I say "hear, hear!" as well as "here, here!" as many kids pursue activities they enjoy, without an all consuming passion, steely determination or a gift for it -- and we support them also. :)

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Raising 7 kids over the past 20+ years I have had 6 of them be "average". They were a handful :clover: but none of them wore me out like my one "above average" dancer. :)

Raising one driven, focussed above average child is a fulltime job. I don't know if I could have done it if I had other "average" kids at home.

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Guest Annabel Lee

I've never posted here but really wanted to respond to what DancesInHerSleep has said. I can relate to it and agree with much of it. My children are no longer teenagers but when they were, I was both a ballet mom and a swim mom. Interestingly enough, I heard this "our kids are different" conversation from both groups of parents many times over the years. Each suggested a level of exclusivity in that their children were focused, intelligent, passionate, driven, committed and knew where to place their priorities. In fact, I think if you blind folded a ballet mom and plucked her down in a natatorium filled with parents, the only give away that it wasn't the dance studio would be the overwhelming smell of chlorine. I agree that children who have love for specific activities that demand their time and require them to challenge themselves, develop positive skills for life and probably have fewer hours in the day to find trouble. However, I have children who didn't swim 15,000 yards a day or dance six days a week who had great priorities as teenagers, who never found a bit of trouble and whose minds were actually occupied with matters outside the mall and beyond the world of fashion. It may well be true that kids without passion are at risk (for something) but I don't think passion needs to be channeled into one single love affair in order to insure life skills, good character and a trouble free adolescence. I suspect that passion for life in general will do.

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And welcome to you, Annabelle Lee - and what a great introduction you've given us, as well.

 

I believe you met "AsleepAtTheWheel" not "DancesInHerSleep" didn't you? If so, you should be able to go back and edit your post... Not meaning to split hairs here. :thumbsup:

 

Many thanks for taking the plunge here and joining in on this discussion. I have no doubt in my mind that your experiences ring true for many of us. I especially appreciate your sense of humor in describing the scenario of placing a blindfolded ballet parent into the natatorium! :clover::)

 

However, I have children who didn't swim 15,000 yards a day or dance six days a week who had great priorities as teenagers, who never found a bit of trouble and whose minds were actually occupied with matters outside the mall and beyond the world of fashion. It may well be true that kids without passion are at risk (for something) but I don't think passion needs to be channeled into one single love affair in order to insure life skills, good character and a trouble free adolescence. I suspect that passion for life in general will do.
You're not alone in this, Annabelle Lee, but I do thank you for expressing what I couldn't. :clover:

 

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers and I hope you'll find your way into many more discussions!

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And I have known teens whose minds WERE occupied by almost nothing else besides malls, fashion, and the opposite sex - late bloomers maturation-wise - and yet, lo and behold, they turned out to be self-disciplined, responsible, tolerant and interesting adults. :)

 

I always maintain hope and optimism for our youth.

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Talking of "average" children, I have to say that most of the kids I teach are decidedly average from a point of view of ability and commitment in dance. They dance a lot, but are not obsessional about it and will miss class if they have a big exam at school, or a special occasion to celebrate. In fact, the most "average" class of all is the loveliest group to teach. They are supportive of each other, don't fight each other for my attention and because they are so enthusiastic and just love to dance, they are advancing beyond everyone's expectations. Maybe one out of the 14 might just make it to professional level, if I'm lucky, but who's counting? Three cheers for average kids!

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La_Bailarina

Not a parent...

 

I'm the oldest of three, and the only girl. One brother (the middle one) is as serious into track as I am into ballet and riding. He's in 8th grade and when he first got into it in sixth grade, it was love at first sight. Last year he beat the highschool record for the 100m and came in second at the national qualifiers in our area. He has team practices for 2hrs after school everyday and then he stays for at least another hour after practice either with the coach or by himself with a few teammates to practice more. Like me, he has a strong sense of the show must go on mentallity; this past winter I danced in a pro. Nut. after being up all night with the stomach flu, I rode at Nationals with strained ligaments in my ankle; he ran several meets with a sprained ankle, including national qualifiers (we didn't know it was sprained until after...he kept assuring us that it was fine). He seems to have a bit more of a social life than I do because he's on his school track team and in track you seem to have a little bit more time to socialize than in ballet class. He could have trained with the highschool track team in the winter, but he decided not to. He's been on the select basketball team (he's no basketball star, he's just really tall) since fifth grade and this was the last year he could do it and highschool track would have conflicted so he chose to finish out his time on the team. He's not the perfectionist that I am but he will go out and run until he gets a time he's happy with. He's realized that he has a realistic future in track and he's not ready to give it up.

 

The youngest brother is the most average of us all. He's in fifth grade. He's dabbled in all our passions; he's tried riding (scared of horses...), he's played soccer and basketball (didn't want to try out for the more elite teams, but he enjoys the rec for hte most part), my mom put him in a creative movement class when he was little (he hated it), he'll probably try track or football next year; but he deoesn't like feeling tied down to anything. He was in the gifted and talented program for math for the past 5 years and that's his thing (I was in it too but it just wasn't for me). He's too young to really see if he'll run into trouble because he isn't dedicated to something like his siblings (although he's a good kid, I don't think he will) but he has fun and he's probably had the fullest, most normal childhood.

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Since the majority of kids and adults are "average" we must consider what their/our place is in this world where such a high value is put on high achievers. 

 

We must remember that all kinds of people make up this world.  Perhaps in this current day and age, my 'average' kid, is really the one that is 'different'.......

 

 

It may well be true that kids without passion are at risk (for something) but I don't think passion needs to be channeled into one single love affair in order to insure life skills, good character and a trouble free adolescence.  I suspect that passion for life in general will do.

 

Beautiful & thought-provoking posts, both! Truly, how many of us would be here if there were no average people?

 

Perhaps some of the problems raising a teen arise when the parent's own ambitions, desires, etc. don't mesh with the kids; ie: the parent who pushes a child to excel in sports, academics, or the performing arts when all the child wants is to be a "normal" teen, or the child with a real passion for a specific endeavor whose parents just can't "get it".

Edited by Balletmom
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