Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Date: October 20, 1974:  "You have a son."

And indeed we did. This tiny baby covered with blond hair was a gift just waiting to be opened. His journey was indeed my own.

I remember when my son was in the third grade. Across the desk sat his teacher telling me that my son was different. He seemed to watch what was happening on the playground instead of diving into the fray. He was quiet and reserved. Yes, indeed he was. My son was an artist, an observer, a creative spirit. His teacher was an idiot.

Not until recently have schools begun to encourage children to find their own voices. Luckily my son lived in a home where the arts were a way of life, and his mother and stepfather understood his gift. Instead of encouraging my son to be proud of his gifts, his teacher saw him not fitting in.

In my childhood, children were herded through school with all children treated the same. Those who were artistic were dragged along and ignored. Those who were athletic were cheered. I couldn't find my place at home or at school, because no one recognized those with a different voice. I didn't know I had my own.

Once my son found his, he grabbed hold of what he loved and fought for it. He struggled for his music. He honed his gift. He said, "I can." And did. James began singing lessons in middle school and has gone on to perform on stage all over the United States. He did it for his love of music. He did it because it was a voice inside of him that needed to be expressed. Now he is writing music and a musical stretching his wings once more. The struggle will still be ahead of him, but he can do nothing to stop this voice inside.

You know that doorman who stands by the door at all times waiting for guests moving to and fro? Well, parents and grandparents, that person is us. That door is sometimes difficult for a child to open. We can do that for them. We can present opportunities. We can listen. We can give them the tools to find their voices. We can support and encourage. Their journey is also ours. We can open the door without judgment. We can help with the 'luggage".

Today is my son's birthday. The last thirty-six years have seen a quiet boy evolve into a handsome, talented man who lived his dream. A man who has touched people with his beautiful voice. A man whose gift lead him to find his wife on a national tour. A man who was a gift the day he was born and has been one that keeps on giving.

On October 20, 1974, my live became richer.

2 comments:

  1. What a eloquent post! Thank goodness that your son was born into an understanding home that nurtured his gifts instead of trying to make him fit the elusive "norm."

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  2. Thanks, Susan. Too many children are bullied and teased for being different. I wish we lived in a world that embraced individualism.

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