So a few weeks ago the primary talent share was announced at church. Andrew does really well memorizing and speaking and singing in front of others. I knew this was something he would really like doing and could do well. I thought about his many talents, and made a few suggestions.
Me-How about telling a few jokes, you are really funny. That is one of your talents.
A-No, that's too boring. (his answer for anything he doesn't want to do these days).
Me-Well, maybe you could play your guitar. You are doing a good job learning.
Me-Maybe you could act out a story with some of your friends. You could do the 3 Pigs or the Billy Goats Gruff.
A-No, I want to sing.
Me-What do you want to sing? You know lots of great songs. You are a great singer.
A-I don't know. Let me think about it.
(A couple of days pass and I don't mention it again. Then one day we are driving down the road listening to a CD he got from his cousin Masen a year ago).
A-Oh Mommy, now I know what I want to do for the talent show. I want to sing "Life is a Highway!"
Me-Really? It is kind of fast, and we don't know all the words. Maybe you could sing "I won't grow up" from Peter Pan. You already know it really well. We even have a costume.
A-No, "Life is a Highway."
Enter the growing opportunity. Now myself, I would never choose to do something that was out of my comfort zone on purpose. I knew this song was too hard for Andrew. It is really long, it is really fast, and hard to understand. I knew there were many things he could do easily and do really well. I wanted him to be successful (meaning do the best job he was capable of). I knew there were things he could do much better, but I knew I needed to let this be his thing. So for three weeks we practiced this song. We looked up the lyrics on line so we could figure out what they were saying, but they were still hard to sing as fast as the song goes, even for Chad and me. We even cut the song in half. Andrew would only practice the song in the car with me and didn't want to learn any dance moves to go with it. So, I let it go. I was determined to let it be his thing. I didn't want him to not want to do something because it wasn't polished and perfect. I wanted him to have a good time.
Then the night before the talent show, he announced, "I think I will sing 'I Hope They Call Me on A Mission' instead." "Oh" I replied, trying not to act excited, though I was desperately wanting to encourage this train of thought. "Maybe you could dress up like a missionary and carry your backpack. That would be cool." "Great Idea!" he exclaimed. I was really excited, I knew this was something he could do well and be successful at. I knew everyone would be able to understand him and would think he was adorable. But I have been his Mommy for 4 and 1/2 years, I didn't get my hopes up.
It was a good thing I didn't hold my breath. He awoke the next morning determined to do "Life is a Highway." I told him I thought that was fabulous and we headed off to church. And that is exactly what he did. And it didn't go perfectly. And it was wonderful! The microphone wasn't on at the beginning, and no one could hear him sing, but he didn't let that bother him. He just kept right on going. (Even at 4 I would have been in tears and wanting to start over again or given up). I am so glad I didn't push my ideas or plans on Andrew. As you can see in the video, he is SO HAPPY. He had so much more fun then he would have, had he taken one of my suggestions. He enjoyed his performance and I enjoyed his performance. He was proud of himself.
The scriptures say, "Men are that they might have Joy." If Heavenly Father wants for His children to have JOY, then I can't aspire for any greater thing as their earthly mother then for my children to have JOY. And I challenge anyone to watch Andrew dance and see his face in this video and not feel his JOY.