Wednesday, May 15, 2013

With Feeling

My son, 14, loves being on stage.

His third-grade teacher had her kids write papers but also give presentations to an audience of parents. The awesome Ms. Negrin taught them how to give a speech, rather than just read their papers in a monotone.

As I watched my 8-year-old thoroughly enjoying himself up there, making jokes, taking questions, I’d think, “Whose little boy are you?”

Because I would rather take a bullet than get up in front of an audience.

In middle school, he always had a part in his school’s shows, which are straight out of To Kill A Mockingbird. The band plays, terribly. Each younger class, from the 3-year-olds to the fifth graders, perform. The kindergarteners, for example, might come on stage dressed as flowers. Some wave to their parents, others face the wrong way, only about half remember what they’re supposed to do.

And the middle-school drama kids put on a play.

This year, it was a musical and my son had a song. To sing. By himself.

Because he has zero singing experience; I figured he would suck (a thought I kept to myself).

But he belted it out. He knew the words. And the tune. He sang loud and with feeling.

And that's enough to rock a middle-school musical.

I guess I am a slow learner. It's only now, watching my kids do things like try out for school plays or sports teams, that I realize these kid things are eminently do-able, if you can just get over being scared. They've been set up to be that way by the coaches and teachers.

But when I was a kid, I was such a scaredy cat. All this stuff intimidated the hell out of me and I wouldn’t even try.

I regret that to this day.

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