Friday, April 12, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Allowing Teens (and Tweens) Room to Fail

I remember the ironic grin on the face of my high school choir director, as he assured me the particularly disastrous choir tryout I'd just had would be a "character building experience".  It was a hard blow, made even harder when my best friend not only got into the choir, but made the tour choir that got to travel around Canada, singing, over spring break.

Her disappointment came in turn when she talked me into accompanying her to an open audition for a play being put on by the local college students.  On a whim, I tried out for a part too - and got the lead.

Through those, and many other similar experiences, we managed not only to remain friends, but learned how to sincerely celebrate a friend's success (even when their gain was our loss), and take pride in our own accomplishments without gloating or becoming boastful, knowing we wouldn't always be the successful one.  It wasn't easy.  It was often painful.  But, it was most definitely character building.  And the lessons we learned through those successes and failures carried over into our academic pursuits, where there were tests, papers and programs to apply to, clear through our university years.

So, while I was sad for C (age 12) when she tried out for a part in a community play this summer, and got "stage hand" (it could have been worse, some were turned away with no part at all) while her older sisters received active speaking parts, I didn't try to soften the blow.  Plays need stage hands, and not everyone can be the star of the show.

Even so, it was a hard blow.

She hadn't minded being a part of the background chorus during a summer junior musical adaptation of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast".

It's okay to play "random villager #3" (C is the tall one below)...

...or a singing and dancing butter knife...

...when your sister has landed the exact same roles in the second cast...

But, it's quite another thing to be a stage hand in a show in which your sisters are playing prominently.

Even so, after a few initial tears of frustration, she rolled up her sleeves and got to work moving chairs and handing out props, and in the end, working into a small non-speaking part, and generally enjoying herself as part of the group.

By the time Christmas rolled around, she was ready to give it another shot.  This time she got a small solo part in a local musical adaptation of "A Christmas Carol".  E was in the chorus.

She didn't gloat or lord it over her sister.  And E for her part, was happy for C to get a turn to be in the spotlight.

C has another audition tonight.  It's one she'll be facing alone, as none of her siblings are trying out, this time.  She's practiced her lines, prepared a song, and steeled her nerves for a possible failure.  And, while I would love for her to succeed, I'm sure it will be a character building experience, either way.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Dawn said...

Yes! Very important skills indeed.
Blessings, Dawn

Ticia said...

Those types of let-downs can be the hardest thing of all.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Oh, good luck! How did it go?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

They won't announce the parts until May 3rd, but she had a great time auditioning.