Posted by: laughs4dads | December 17, 2010

The Talent Show

My, wife, Barbara, used to be an art director, and I’m a writer. So when Casey was a toddler, we both watched very carefully to see which talent Casey displayed.

We assumed it would be one or the other, and not something totally out of left field, like prodigious math abilities.

And sure enough, from an early age, she seemed to really like drawing, although she didn’t show a preference for any particular medium or, for that matter, drawing surface.  She would happily use markers, crayons, pen or chalk to sketch on paper, slates, magazines, walls, furniture or herself.  She certainly seemed to be concentrating while she was doing it, taking great pains in color selection and getting little furrows in her little brow.  And although her finished pieces looked like a dog happened to walk across the paper with crayons attached to its paws, Barbara was quite pleased with Casey’s apparent artistic bent.

On the other hand, I took her numerous recitals of the alphabet to indicate an early fondness of words that would lead to a future as a writer, or, at least, someone with good penmanship.  I just knew that, soon, she’d be arranging those individual letters to form words and turning those words into sentences, and the sentences into paragraphs, and the paragraphs into great stream-of-consciousness literature or maybe a few Harlequin Romances. (How was I to know that by the time Casey reached adulthood, people would be communicating solely in 140-character bursts.)

However, being good parents, we did not restrict Casey’s endeavors to art and writing.  We got her a piano, a guitar and a set of drums, although the last item was actually furniture that Casey used as percussion intruments. It appeared, though, as if Casey was following in her parents’ footsteps in having no musical ability whatsoever.  She not only sang horribly off-key, but her piano accompaniment was equally off-key, although it was not by any means off the same key.  Of course, Casey’s tone-deafness might have been a learned handicap, since she was usually singing along with Barb or me, and we sing off-key. And, in fact, as soon as she got away from us for a summer of sleep-away camp, she developed into a serviceable guitarist with a decent singing voice.

These days, parents are always trying to broaden their kids’ horizons, shuttling them to ballet class and karate and acting classes and language classes and soccer practice. And it gets even worse when the kids are four years old.

And I guess there’s something to be said for sampling a little of everything. On the other hand, I think they’re just as likely to arrive at their true calling without directions from you.

Anyway, with the speed at which the world is changing, the vocation at which your child will excell probably doesn’t even exist yet.

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