From the time he tried to turn the soccer net into a head piece I knew my son would not be what society considers a typical boy. He has been making Santa beards out of fake Christmas snow and borrowing his sister’s tights to dress as the Nutcracker Prince since preschool. We tried all of the usual childhood activities but quickly realized that dance and theater made him much happier than bats and balls.
My husband and I have always been perfectly happy with whatever he wants to do and whoever he wants to be but we’ve learned that the rest of the world doesn’t necessarily feel the same. As soon as the neighborhood kids were old enough to stretch games of football and soccer across front lawns we knew we had to help him find his place. Watching my boy sit inside alone rather than half-heartedly throw a ball broke my heart. He needed to know from an early age that there were other boys out there just like him. He needed to see that he wouldn’t always be alone, peeking out the curtain at what other boys considered fun.
My son performed in musical theater for the first time at age seven, danced in his first Nutcracker ballet at nine. We’ve clapped and cheered and jumped from our seats just as we do at his little brother’s soccer games. However we’ve also steered him towards a village in ways we didn’t need to with his siblings. Unfortunately he needs this village because there are people out there like you Lara who think that boys who dance or perform is a laughing matter. While some appreciate his creativity others think it’s odd that he takes the point of his toe and the range of his singing voice as seriously as a pitcher takes his pitching arm.
I have no doubt that my son’s future will be in the arts. He has such a passion for the stage that I can’t imagine him anywhere else. I also have no doubt that I will have to continue to make sure his “village” is strong because of attitudes like Ms. Spencer’s. What my son loves to do is no funnier than Little League baseball games and high school tennis tournaments. His activities of choice require strength, determination and a whole lot of driving back and forth to rehearsals.
When it comes down to it we’re all just trying to raise our kids to believe in themselves. We’re helping them find their passions, hoping we can get them everywhere they need to be on time and crossing our fingers that they believe in themselves as much as we believe in them.