OT- sort of general ponderings...

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Registered: 05-13-1998
OT- sort of general ponderings...
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Fri, 03-25-2011 - 2:09pm

I'll start with my question. How honest are you with your kids when it comes to their abilities and long term goals? How honest do you feel a parent or a teacher/mentor should be? At what

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Registered: 01-31-2011
Mon, 03-28-2011 - 9:22pm
Hi Turtletime.

Well, first of all, although I understand why your dd was so upset, I think that if these young adults 18-24 years old with modest talent can't tell that they aren't going to Broadway, it has as much to do with their own temperaments and world views than the adults who are cheering for them. They already know they aren't going to Julliard.

As for how we talk to our own kids, I actually have been thinking about this a bit. My younger son has a dream of playing high school, then college, and ultimately NBA basketball. Although he is not particularly tall and has not shown much talent up to now. He didn't want to hear any cautions or advice about hedging his bets - "Will Smith says plan B only distracts you from your plan A." He worked hard all last summer and fall to try to be ready for high school tryouts. He didn't make it. Then he arranged to be able to practice with the team, but an administrator found out and stopped that. So he searched around for a recreational team (he was a little late) and found one that was very ad hoc. The coach had no coaching skills, and just made sure everyone played. So, then he found himself a private coach and arranged for weekly lessons. He decided to also take track in order to get stronger and faster, and we're looking into summer programs. But, I asked him if he really wanted to take track, given how much time it would take away from basketball. And he quit track. But he did go back to practicing basketball in earnest.

Now, i've never told him he is good at basketball, nor has my husband. We haven't told him we expect him to get into the NBA or anything else like that. In fact we don't know where he got this idea from. But, what I love is the dedication and creativity he is applying to this. He likely won't make it anywhere close to his dream, but what wonderful lessons he is learning by trying. (And to tell the truth, he is looking pretty good these days, with some moves that sort of belong in the Harlem Globetrotters). To answer your question, I don't ever expect to have to guide him on this. He will take it as far as he can, and then he will switch to something else. And he will apply the goal setting and work ethic to new ventures. What I don't know is if I was wrong to slightly (it was just a comment) dissuade him from taking track this spring. Maybe I was. But, I just thought he would regret it if he didn't give basketball that final shot (trying to make the sophomore team next year).
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Registered: 04-16-2001
Mon, 03-28-2011 - 10:26am

I am really glad you posted this.

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 8:23pm

I'm big on reminding my oldest that raw brains and talent do not generally suffice on their own.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc248/gwennyc/b6yfcl.png<A href="http://s218.photobucket

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Registered: 05-13-1998
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 7:30pm
I think you could be right... the idea that it's not intentionaly misleading, just people being niave to what the longterm requirements are to certain professions.

It makes me wish there were more mentoring opportunities for teens and young adults. Internships are big in our area but getting one requires you to be pretty far down a certain path already. Budding writers might manage a column in the youth section of the paper but only 2 or 3 out of thousands that apply. DD's part of a student board at a major regional theatre and education they are getting on theatre management is fantastic but they only accept a handful of kids a year. Even getting a summer job in our area is hard because they are taken by college kids and adults.

I know, I'm rambling now but I often feel like there are so few "real" experiences for kids. They exists but only the exceptional have access to them. Perhaps that is why we go to performances like these and hear nothing but broadway dreams and yet DD's friends with professional and national tour credits are very hesistant to say anything like that and they quickly dismiss anyone who suggests it. They may want it but they understand the obstacles.

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Registered: 09-13-1999
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 3:22pm
I feel bad for those kids because they may be in for a very unpleasant experience...though really you never know. There are plenty of performers who dont impress me with their talent. But perhaps because my natural tendency is to see the negatives and obstacles that i have to fight the tendency in the other direction to try and protect my girls from any potential hurt. I can't say that this sort of buoying up is all bad. I worry a lot more about the kid who is told he doesn't have what it takes and never tries at all. At least the experience of being successful builds some confidence.

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Registered: 05-13-1998
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 1:58pm
I think you are talking about something very different though. People can improve. People can overcome disabilities. Certainly, one shouldn't give up doing something they love. That is why there is such a strong community theatre movement. People who love theatre but can't make a living at it or don't want the kind of living theatre can provide still have an outlet. What I'm talking about is watching an older teen/young adult limiting their career choices by single-mindely pursuing avenues they are totally ill-suited for. Time is valuable and we have such a small window of time to explore without the pressures of daily responsibilities. I just feel we are better encouraging our older teens and young adults to see the whole picture whether that means starting to expose them to larger circles or introducing them to ways they can still be involved in a field they love even if their ideal falls through.

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Registered: 07-23-2002
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 12:53pm
You know, I think that most cases of parents / mentors not being apparently honest about the abilities of kids result from the adults having an inadequate appreciation of what's required to succeed. More naiveté than dishonesty. I think I'm pretty honest with my kids -- and I've made an effort to ensure that I'm not naive about their prospects. I'm aware that my kids are big fish in small ponds where they live, and that we needed to consider a larger scope in evaluating their career prospects. I waited until the concertmaster of a major North American orchestra told me that my dd should be considering a professional career before I actually started believing she had what it takes and telling her so.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

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Registered: 01-04-2002
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 11:31am

My verbally gifted kid's ability to compensate for earlier lack of physical ability is what keeps me from saying anything about his abilities.

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Registered: 05-13-1998
Sat, 03-26-2011 - 11:23am
That's interesting because I don't think I've ever really seen that. I've seen people ill-suited for one particular goal change paths slightly and become very successful.... like being ill-suited for acting but becoming a very successful casting director... still in the same field but a job that took very different skills. I could see someone who was intensely driven making that sort of progress or a person who had a hidden gift but total lack of exposure until older ages. I'm not saying it can't happen. I just haven't see it personally.
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Registered: 04-09-2006
Fri, 03-25-2011 - 11:06pm
I've seen too many supposedly talentless people and late bloomers who have become successful (sometimes stunningly so), for me to feel comfortable judging other people's aptitudes or lack thereof, even when "everyone" else agrees that the person in question is ill suited to the chosen path.

Deborah

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