One of the goals I have as a parent is teaching my kids to follow their dreams and live an authentic life. Its one of the reasons I choose to unschool; it simply seems like the most logical way for me to help them learn that their passions are as important and worthwhile as what the state and school deem important. Yesterday my little dancer auditioned for a small role in The Nutcracker. A ballet company from Chicago is going to be performing in our little town and is using local children as mice, angels, and soldiers. We didn't really know what to expect but Kya was very excited at the possibility of being part of a real ballet performance with professional dancers.
Twenty-two girls and boys auditioned in her age group, the company had twenty-five costumes so they kept them all! Practice began immediately and she worked diligently for over four hours learning some of her small part. On the way home as we discussed how exciting it was I mentioned how fortunate she was to be able to do something like this. I explained that many people go their entire lives without getting to follow their dreams. She expressed how sad that was and said she felt bad for those people.
My little realist was wistful and grateful but also pragmatic. I told her that with rehearsals she would probably not have time for cheerleading this year. She immediately said that the ballet was an opportunity she couldn't pass up. She wants to be a dancer and this is more important so she'll just take a year off from cheering; there's always next year after all. My daughter is NINE, my jaw dropped when I heard her speaking of opportunity and priorities. I can see that it's not just about helping my kids learn to dream big but also how to fulfill those dreams. I think Kya is off to a pretty good start on that lesson.