Today, E and L had auditions for a local musical theater production. This is E's 4th year and L's 2nd year doing this show, which is several songs from a variety of different Broadway shows each year.
For the auditions, the kids can sing something as simple as "Happy Birthday" or any song of their own choosing. If they want a solo part, they are encouraged to audition with the song they want to sing solo in the show.
So E choose Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better from Annie Get Your Gun which is one of the songs they are doing in the show this year, and will somehow be modifying it for multiple kids solos. It has a male and female part, so I said I'd do the male part with her for the audition.
I have not sang in front of an audience since I was about 10 years old and would occasionally sing at church. I don't consider myself a singer. I do sing to the kids, but my voice makes my babies cry. It must be something they get used to with time, since my kids can tolerate it as they get older and even ask me to sing with/to them. Still, I was more than happy to put myself out there in front of a few judges to help E out. Plus, I've been having a lot of fun practicing it with her.
After we did her song, one of the judges exclaimed that I should audition too! The first words out of my mouth were, "Oh, no, I don't sing!"
I was just thinking the other day about how I am usually up for learning anything new and I hope that is a trait I pass on to my kids. They just started violin lessons, and without making a conscious decision that I was going to learn too, I found myself practicing the warm up they learned in class, and looking up how to play an easy song online.
My struggle with becoming an expert at anything has never been feeling incapable of learning a skill, but rather that I feel confident that I could learn just about anything and therefore the possibilities are endless. Choosing something to devote myself to takes time away from the other thousand things I could be learning.
I often say to the kids, "I don't know how, but we can find out."
I would most definitely do this show if I wasn't going to be helping two kids with hair, makeup and costumes, and if I had more childcare available for Z and A. It would be fun! I did drama in high school and loved it, especially improv, even though I'm not particularly spontaneous or funny. My bits may not have been the most entertaining for the audience, but I had fun! This show is more singing and dancing than acting, but *I know I'd learn something new* and have fun doing it, thus the appeal.
So why say "I don't sing," and shut down the director's compliment? Well, because in our society, that's what you do. I see it all the time- people are afraid to be proud of the things at which they excel, and even more hesitant to give consideration to the possibility that they just might be capable of doing something they've never done before. I don't really believe that "I don't (or can't or can't learn to) sing," but that's what one says to be politely self-depreciating.
I realized that if I hope to pass this trait on to my kids, I can't respond that way. I could have just said, "Thank you!" or "Maybe some day I will," or "Not this year, but that would be fun!"
When I'm gone, I want my children to say, "She never said 'I don't know how,' but said 'I haven't learned how yet."