Supporting Your Child in Their Art!

Supporting Your Child in Their Art!

I recently just read a wonderful article that discussed the rewards of letting your child be dedicated to their art. I know this is sometimes hard for parents to do so I thought that I would just share a few points that the author talked about. 

Miss Erin writes on her post ‘I know my child is really talented at dance, but…’ Rewards of Letting Your Child Be Dedicated to Their Art

"I hear so many excuses from parents about why they don’t want to support their child’s dream of dancing professionally.‘I know my child is really talented at dance, but it would be a shame for her to be a dancer because she is so smart.’ ‘The life of a dancer is so hard and it’s such a short career.’ ‘I know he’s talented, but the odds of him having a dance career are so slim.’ ‘She’s so used to the lifestyle we provide her; she could never live on such a small budget.’  ‘I don’t want to have to support him financially.  I want him to have a career he can make money at and support himself.’  These are all valid points except the first one.  I know as parents you want your child to be healthy and happy and financially stable.  The point is that they can be all those things and still have a career in dance.  Will it be a struggle?  Yes, of course, but any career path will have that!  If your child wants to dedicate their life to dance, chances are they know it will be difficult, they know they will probably have to change career paths later on down the road and they know they will never get rich dancing and yet they still want to pursue the career.  If they have enough drive and talent to do so, why squelch their dreams?

When I read the beginnings of this article to my mother, she laughed told me I should add to my original title: The Rewards of Letting Your Child Be Dedicated to Their Art and said, ‘why would someone want to steal their child out of the spotlight?’  As we talked, she did admit that she thought my dance teacher growing up was a bit insane when she told my mom I needed to take eight ballet classes a week at the age of eight, but she said, ‘I tried to trust her judgment; I mean, I didn’t know anything about dance. I signed you up, sweated when I handed over the payment and held my breath. You loved it. Did I think it was a bit much for an eight year old?  Truth be told, yes, but you seemed to thrive on it.’

I told my mother that I appreciated all the support which came with the sacrifices her and my father made for me to pursue my dreams from my father taking on extra coaching and summer jobs to pay for my classes, my mother spending countless hours in the car driving me to all my lessons and auditions, giving up family vacations and dinners out to pay for pointe shoes and summer programs and volunteering endless hours of their time helping at the dance school.  She laughed again and told me it was so rewarding as parents to see their child light up inside when they did something they loved to do.  She wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world and she was happy to make any sacrifice she could to give me the opportunities she did.  Besides, she told me, ‘our early investment paid off big time.’  She was referring to the fact that my parents didn’t pay anything for my college education since I got full ride between academic and dance scholarships.  After college, I got several different jobs in my field, bought my own home and car, paid my own bills and they haven’t had to support me since.

The truth is that the career of dance and the arts in general, is a difficult path and not all people make it, but the chances of making it go up exponentially when the parents support their endeavors. I have seen many parents make very fair decisions when it comes to this and there is a lot of room for compromise.  I do not mean that they have opened their check book and started supporting their starving artist.  Some parents agree to let their child go to college for dance if they agree to minor in something else.  Some parents have told their child that they have so much saved up in a college fund and they can use that money to pursue their dance career instead, but once the money is gone, it’s gone and they are on their own.  Some parents agree to support their dancer for one year, but if they can’t make their career happen in that amount of time, they have to go it on their own or go to college.  Some parents encourage their child to take the professional dance contract being offered them as long as they take a few online college courses each semester or start pursuing their yoga certification or real estate license in their free time.

I would encourage all parents to support their children’s aspirations and ambitions, especially if there’s a chance of them becoming an actuality.  Being a professional dancer is not just some pie in the sky dream, it can be a reality and it can be just as rewarding and challenging as becoming a doctor or lawyer, especially when you have supportive parents behind you."

This article hits very close to home for parents supported me 100% in what I wanted to do. I know at times it was challenging, but as a family we made it work. I was that little girl that grew up in the studio. My dance teacher was my second mom and my dinners were always reheated for me when I would get home each evening from the studio. I loved it and am very thankful for the support that I received. I feel very blessed to being doing what I love and I know that I would not be here without my parents. 

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