We have many friends. And those friends have many children. And most of those children have A THING, and it’s usually just one. One passion, one love, one thing that drives them. Competitive dance, ice skating, rep hockey, speed skating, swim team, little league, piano. Sometimes it takes a while to find it, sometimes it’s clear as day right from the start, sometimes children are born into long lines of a single passion, and sometimes the passion simply finds the child.
My son Josh played many, many, many years of hockey before convincing us that he just has absolutely zero desire to play hockey. At all. Baseball, though, is a game he would play every day of the week. He plays two, actually, and his dad is his coach. He loves to go to games and he loves to talk about players.
My daughter Isabella likes to dance and sing and swim, but it’s when she’s on her ice skates that she’s truly in her pocket. She happily watches better skaters with a gleam in her eye.
My daughter Emily on the other hand, well, at age 12, her truest, truest passion is still a bit of a mystery. Well, it’s not so much a mystery as it is A FULL-TIME JOB. She loves to dance, she loves to sing, she loves to act. She wants to do them all. If you ask her what she sees in her future her answer changes hourly. I want to play a doctor…on television. I want to sing and dance on broadway…in something like A Chorus Line. Movies! I want to do movies! I want to win them all—Tonys, Oscars, Emmys, Grammys.
Well, the road to EGOT is certainly one I can see Miss Emily traveling down. She is a pint-sized package of an enormous amount of talent. We want our kids to dream big, of course, but as a parent of a child with many passions, how do we help her, prepare her, encourage her? How do we know if the choices we make are right?
She asked us to get her an agent every day for about two years. Nay, begged. We agreed that if she got the role of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz that we would consider it. And she did, of course. We then agreed that if she got the role of Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins that we would consider it again. And she did, of course, again.
So by some stroke of luck, we got her an agent and I schlepped downtown during rush hour for many, many times for auditions and many, many call backs. While over the course of 8 months she didn’t get an actual role, she did get a tremendous amount of positive and encouraging feedback, including things from different casting agents and directors like, “Emily is a tremendous little actress,” “Keep plugging away, she’s going to be a big star this one,” and “She should keep at it, she’s a talented kid!” But then suddenly her agency went out of business and we found ourselves unexpectedly agentless and at an unexpected crossroads.
Maybe we do something else. Maybe we keep going.
Maybe she dances more and explores that for a little while. She could take ballet, or lyrical, or something in the acro family.
Maybe she takes voice lessons and learns to add some control to her lovely singing voice.
Maybe she goes into an actual theater school where she gets to be on the stage again—she misses the stage.
Or maybe we begin the search for a new agency to represent her.
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
The problem is that we just don’t know. She doesn’t know. Her father doesn’t know. I don’t know.
She wants to do everything, but we just can’t—it’s simply not a possibility. As soon as she thinks she’s made a decision, she worries that she is making the wrong one. If I pick this, then I can’t do that. If I pick that, then I can’t do this.
It’s amazing that having too many passions is causing her this much anxiety. Like, this is horrible problem to have.
It’s almost as if she’s….ME.
She has an agency audition tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for us that this agency wants to represent her.
And keep your fingers crossed that we are making the right decision for our little girl.
(and if you have any advice, I’d really love to hear it.)
Does your child have A THING? How did you find out what it was?