Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Curtain Call

For the past couple of months, all across America, something has been taking place in each and every town. As parents, it's bringing us closer and giving us a common experience. It's also validating what we do every other week of the year. I'm talking about the infamous end-of-the-year concert/banquet/recital/awards ceremony. It signals the end of the season for athletes and the end of the school year for everyone else. It's the moment when, hopefully, you look at your child and think: "Yeah, I'm glad that he/she's involved in this."

Depending on how you've felt about the activity, you and your child might be looking forward to this much like a trip to the dentist. In some cases, this end-of-the-year thing might require elaborate costumes and memorized performances thereby causing anxiety-ridden children and, consequently, parents.

I've always sort of looked forward to these events, mostly because it meant that very soon, we got a break. Maybe we had to do a bit of running around prior to the "big finish," but it was worth it in the end.

My kids never seemed to care either way. It was just something else they had to attend. I'd always want to talk about it afterwards and their response was usually something like: "Yeah, it was OK. Whatever." It was always me that was getting choked up when it was the final time he or she did something. And when I think about it, this is sort of their thought process behind every extra-curricular activity. To them, it was just another thing on their list of stuff to do. Sure, they enjoyed some activities more than others, but nothing was the be-all, end-all that some parents may have you believing.

If you've had a chance to see "Sports Kids Moms and Dads" on TV, you'll see the polar opposite. Kids who should be taken away by protective services from parents who can't draw the line between their own ambitions and their childrens' right to be children. I've seen some of these parents at our various end-of-the-year events and I feel so sad for their kids. Mostly because they aren't enjoying the activity nearly as much as their parents are.

Last week I attended the final concert performed by my daughter's choir. It was a nice event where they paid tribute to the kids who were leaving the choir. The one moment that I remember distinctly was after a particularly soulful gospel song was sung, I glanced at the choir and saw a girl who happens to be blind. She was so excited at the end of that song that she was grinning from ear to ear and clapping her hands, while the other kids stood there trying to look cool. (Even though you could tell they felt the same way.) I got really choked up and thought: "That's how it should be. The kids should be the ones getting excited."

As parents, there's a fine line between a gentle push and an all-out shove. It's too bad we can't legislate against parents who don't know the difference.


At 7:55 AM , Blogger Progressive Indian-American Woman said...

Loved this post. Inspired by it, I wrote one - check out,

At 9:45 PM , Anonymous Lou said...

too true.


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