At what point do you actually make your child do something? Even though they say they don’t want to do it. This was the question I had been struggling with for a few weeks. Now I know the answer. At least for this particular situation.
One of the reasons for our move was to have more creative outlets and opportunities for Amy (and us as well). Last night she had the first of one such opportunity. She went to her first acting class. She didn’t know she was going until dinner time. We had intentionally not told her, knowing we would get a negative reaction, which in turn would lead to a sour attitude, and well you parents know how that turns out.
Rewind a few months, I had seen a flyer hanging up at the storage facility we rented for a kids drama school that meets here in Redmond, not to far from where we are living. I mentioned that this might be something fun for her to try since she has such a flair for the dramatic – making up plays and scenes on a whim, and being over the top in her reactions some times too. The idea was met with the typical reaction, “no” and “I don’t want to”. So the subject was dropped.
Fast forward to Christmas break and she’s asking us to give her ideas of things to act out. We would throw out an idea – waiting for the bus while listening to crazy music – as an example. And she would create this entire scene around this one idea. These scenes were pretty funny. Other times it would be something completely random that she would come up with, at any given moment. Imagine living with a female Robin Williams (only not as vulgar – remember she is only 10 after all).
Skip ahead to 2 weeks ago, me with nothing to do but rest after my surgery. I looked up the information again on the acting classes to see when the spring session was starting. Much to my surprise it hadn’t started yet and they still had openings in the class. After discussing it with Dean (out of earshot of prying ears) we decided to go ahead and sign her up. Keep in mind, she still has no idea that we are doing any of this. And of course there is that voice inside my head questioning the decision, are you sure this is a good idea? Will it be a waste of money? Will she resist and be a grump every time she has to go for the next twelve weeks? There was no way of knowing the answers to these questions, all we could do is just proceed and see what happens.
Now here we are at yesterday. Dean makes plans to take her out to dinner. Just the two of them. She wants to go to KFC (which I don’t particularly like), so it works out well. He picks her up after work and they go to dinner. Still she doesn’t know that she’s going to class after this. While at dinner he tells her that she is going and is met with exactly the reaction we expected. But she goes, accepting the fact, grudgingly, that it is only an hour, one day a week.
Which brings us to the present time. She went in to the class with the hopes that she wouldn’t like it. Much to her (and our) surprise, she did have fun and seems to be looking forward to going again. Her reaction upon first coming out was lukewarm, but by the time she got home and described it to me, she actually had some enthusiasm in her voice. But what really tipped me off that she had fun was one little statement on twitter that she made “Just got back from my first acting class!!!!!!” I think it was the 6 exclamation points that made me realize we had made a good decision.
So yes, sometimes it just takes a little push (and maybe a clandestine decision) to get the momentum going.