As I was raising my children I involved them in lots of extra curricular, after school activities…dance, piano, violin, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, karate, band, and choir. You name it; someone tried it! Depending on the situation I accompanied them and listened and watched, or I dropped them off and picked them up after the practice, lesson or rehearsal. Sometimes as an observing parent I was allowed right in the room where the children were being instructed. Other times I looked on through a one-way window. Most often though, the return home conversation was the only connection I had with how things had gone during the activity, because parents were not invited to the class/practice. The reasoning was that learning requires the child’s focus. I must admit that a row of chitchatting mothers on the sidelines or younger siblings who can’t wait to run out onto the floor or court or into the studio does not facilitate focus and learning. It definitely presents a challenge for the young aspiring dancer, musician, or star of the game.
My daughters are now in the throws of after school activities. I was interviewing one of their little girls one morning about her plans for the day. She informed me that today was dancing day. She was quick to make sure I knew that I was NOT invited to observe. Apparently this was not parent visiting day and it was not the day of the final recital. She made this clear with these words, “Grandma, only us are going to watch ourselves!”
As she ran out of the room to put on her leotard, tights and little pink dance skirt her words echoed in my mind. “Grandma, only us are going to watch ourselves!” That’s a pretty important thing to learn to do in life. It’s such a temptation to focus on things that distract us from learning from our own experience. In Step 10 we are challenged to: “Continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it.” In order for me to take this step I have to focus. I have to be self-observant. Sometimes I have to tune out the noisy world around me. Sometimes I have to ignore the cheers and the criticism from the sidelines and imagine that I am alone with my Teacher. Daily life is not a performance; it’s a lesson, a class, a rehearsal, a practice. There are great things to be learned today if I am brave enough to say to the world, “Today ‘only us are going to watch ourselves!’”
By Nannette W.
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All right reserved.
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