Friday, September 5, 2014

Failure is an Option

Letting your child fail is a difficult decision. No parent wants to deliberately allow their child to do so. But perhaps we should.

Tonight, I am watching my daughter audition for Shrek the Musical, in a local production. We watched the musical this summer for a review for Indy Social Media Moms, and she fell in love with the story and the characters. And when we learned a small group was producing Shrek on our side of town, she jumped on the opportunity to audition.

My daughter has a will. I was worried about the way.

We managed the issues of cost (the group asks for parents to contribute financially to the production, rather than fundraise) and schedules (we had committed to sports at school, but found a way to make it work.) My daughter even decided that trying out - and winning a part in Shrek - was worth the loss of a birthday party, seeing her brother's games and other sacrifices she would make the next 10 weeks. She picked out a song - the school's song of the year - and I found a copy of the CD at the public library for her accompaniment in the tryout.

This morning, we practiced in the car. And while she's in tune (one point over her mother), she certainly doesn't have the power in her voice. She was drowned out time and again by her little brother.

Tonight, I will watch my daughter audition, full knowing that she only has about a 50 percent chance of the part (based on the number of tryout slots). Full knowing that her voice isn't as strong as her possible competition for a role (more so for Fiona than for the Wicked Witch, her #2 choice). Tonight, I could very much watch my daughter pour her heart into something she wants, knowing that she could very well fail.

But failure is an option.

And those fears become very real in those moments before sleep. As I was tucking my daughter in bed, my daughter, with sad eyes, said, "Mom, what if I don't get a part?"

The very worry I had for her.

And I told her, "Just sing your best, and do the very best you can do, and your dad and I will be proud. And if you don't get a part? You can always try the Girl Scout program on theaterif you do want to learn more about acting, and we can try again another time."

That seemed to satisfy her. Knowing that her mom, who messed up a very bad rendition of Stand By Me for a musical tryout in high school, still turned out ok probably helped too.

It's OK to not be the star in every role. My daughter is an awesome chef at the age of 9. She's a less awesome kickball and soccer player. What kind of actress she does or doesn't become remains to be seen.

It's OK to fail. It's OK to be disappointed. Disappointments and failures will happen in life, and it's how we manage those that matters.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

This is probably one of the hardest parts of parenting. But you are right it is necessary for them to learn about life's realities.