When I was 8, a local hotel was holding auditions for a dinner theater production of “Annie.” I became quite excited, convinced that I would land the starring role. Finally, the freckles would pay off!
There were only two small problems: I couldn’t act and I couldn’t sing.
Of course, I didn’t know this. I thought my rendition of “Tomorrow” was show stopping, and I couldn’t wait to get in front of those casting directors and perform.
I never got the chance. My mom, very gently, told me that my “abilities” were not up to snuff.
Of course, I was crushed, but what was my mom to do? Allow me to go embarrass myself? Now that I am an adult, I know. I could have practiced every day for the rest of my childhood and my “abilities” would have only added up to wishes.
No, she did the right thing, but I wonder: as a mom, would I be able to do the same? If my child were to come to me with a dream, something I just knew was unattainable, how would I handle it? Would I take it into my own hands, trying to soften the blow? Or would I chicken out and let them put themselves out there, hoping the universe is kind but never really knowing for sure?
It’s a tricky thing. I’m a big believer in following dreams — if my son or daughter expressed a wish to become, say, President of the United States, then I would encourage them to study and work hard and develop the skills necessary to become a public servant. I would tell them what I firmly believe to be true: With hard work, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Er …. unless it’s something like being a pro golfer or an opera singer. Yes, hard work is needed, but the skill level has to be there, you know?
Of course, there are always exceptions. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
How do you handle these things with your kids? Do you intervene in order to save feelings? Or is learning the lesson for themselves an important part of the journey?
Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in 2010. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.