Why is talent and hard work so easily dismissed?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Why is talent and hard work so easily dismissed?
41
Mon, 06-20-2011 - 1:03pm

I've been frustrated before and I'll be frustrated again but I don't know that I'll ever understand. Another school talent show has come and gone. I actually appreciate DS's school talent show because unlike DD's elementary, DS's show is almost entirely filled with kids actually taking lessons and working on skills. You'd assume that the majority of audience were there to support their own child and so could appreciate the work going in but they were still a terrible audience.

For example, the 9-year-old who played her own piano accompianment as she sung a Disney song got polite applause despite the fact that she was really very good (I was incredibly impressed with her piano skills and her singing was clear and on key.) The girl who mumbled through a canned

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002

Unfortunately there's more and more of this sort of thing happening these days. My Facebook feed is full of spam from local friends trying to get me to vote for their little Fido as the area's cutest pet or whatever. On the internet it's often about hits and advertising revenue. That can be an important thing for kids to realize: that these contests are often nothing more than marketing ploys in disguise.

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

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Wed, 06-29-2011 - 10:16am

Reply to the entire thread, not one specific message...just happened to hit the reply button after reading through...

This is definitely a pet peeve of mine.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2000

Merimom - suddenly remembering when DS was in 3rd grade and kids his age were invited to participate in the "group act" in the talent show.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2000
Wed, 06-29-2011 - 11:00pm
Yikes!

My "group numbers" were more like the 3rd graders playing their recorders that we were working on in class, the 2nd graders singing something about summer or going camping, etc. Very kid appropriate "music class" kinds of songs!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
LOL! DD Y is actually quite the Avril Lavigne fan, and has sung her songs on more than one occasion in elementary school on 'talent shows'. Those were always during school hours, organized by kids, so for and by kids... On the music performance nights for kids and parents she'd play the cello... she felt that fit 'the audience' better. She'd get great comments from the parents too, but the kids would only be half enthusiastic.

I think a lot of the choice to applaud loud or not for an act is influenced by how much the person applauding wants to be able to do what was just shown her/himself, or how much he/she'd want her kid to be able to do that.... And a lot of people stick to only wanting to be able to do what does NOT cost a whole lot of effort....hence the easier acts are more popular...

That, and of course a (un?)healthy dose of jealousy that makes people act in strange ways ;-)

You know, slightly off topic, but in the same way I can get so fed up with people clapping harder to the youngest/cutest performances... even during a classical music only performance, as long as the player is below a certain height out of tune notes and all are forgiven, whereas an older kid who plays just as long or as well is eye-rolled at... Sigh.
Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

I was going to post somethng very similar to your second paragraph. I think a lot of people are threatened by competence. Being able to understand a performance well enough to judge it gives a sort of power, so people tend to clap for the simple performances that they imagine they have the hope of achieving.

I don't think this is a new thing, though. Shakespeare wrote the vulgar and raunchy bits of his plays to appeal to the groundlings, so he got the importance of appealing to popular taste.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010

I've been thinking about this post ever since I first read it a week or so ago, and I think there's more than one answer. I agree with ashmama about the issue of appealing to popular taste.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011

This was a really interesting post to me, especially thinking about gifted and talented students. I have one of my own who is extremely brilliant. I feel I can say that here because I suspect others have children like this. I've never been one to tout how bright my children are, because most parents think this of their average kids. However, with my daughter, the capacity for and use of complex information is astounding!

When school time rolled around for her, I had such a struggle because I felt that public schools are dumbing down academics so that they can easily meet the needs of the slower children. Since the cost of private education ruled itself out, I have ended up homeschooling and enjoying the tremendous pleasure of watching my children devour, enjoy, and use information in so many subjects. I can speed it up for some, and slow it down a bit for others. They are free to pursue their interests in addition to their scheduled studies, and repeat science experiments. Learning is a way of life, and not something that is compartmentalized to school hours.

I share the concerns in this thread about talent and learning in general. Our children don't choose what to like anymore. It is presented to them. This is how you dress, the kind of music you like, the way you should act toward peers and authority. How many children EVER hear classical music now? How many children will learn ANYTHING about world history before high school?

Does anyone have thoughts on brining up the standards again? This is a difficult thing to combat in schools now. Our public schools provide a valuable service to those who need free education, but it is a disgrace to watch them embrace a herd mentality and shortchange so many students.

Madreathome

Equip Your Student With 3 Life Tools for the Information age at www.awtutor.com.



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
I wish I had an answer. One problem is that teachers themselves don't have these interest. Neither do many parents. The funny thing is that this phenomenon is hardly limited to public schools.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011

I agree with your statement about people being threatened by competence. It seems that most people are satisfied to be average, and to live a mediocre life (by their own measurement). There is a growing contempt for rigorous classical programs, and rigorous programs in general. Those with competent vocabularies and confidence in their field are viewed as pretentious and better-than-you sorts.

Is it any wonder that American schools are lagging far behind those in Europe and Asia? We need to make academic excellence (not just proficiency or passing standardized tests) the requirement and not the exception.

Madreathome

Equip Your Student With 3 Life Tools for the Information age at www.awtutor.com.