Our family culture involves lots of music time. It is a huge focus for all of us. My older two children both spend lots of time singing, and playing piano. They have a special music mentor who helps them excel in these areas.
Their music mentor has spoken with me many times about how my daughter needs to be doing musical theatre. No comment could make me more happy. :) I love musicals. I own just about every musical there is. My father was a play director, when I was young, and directed a musical every year. From a very young age, I was put in these productions. Musical theatre is a love of mine. The thought of my daughter singing on stage made my heart thrill.
I explained to our mentor that where we live there aren't many opportunities for young children to be in musical theatre. Our mentor has some connections in the musical world, so he brought up the idea of my children auditioning for a children's theatre company up in Davis county. He spoke with the director there, and found out that they were doing the play "Guys and Dolls" this year. She called me and we arranged for my children to audition for her. We were all very excited for the chance to audition for the musical.
After hearing the children, she said that she was very pleased with what she saw and was happy to have met the children. A few days later, the director of the play called me and said that she would really like to have the children in the play. She said that she would like to give them lead rolls, so that they could sing some of the solo numbers in the play.
I was so excited to have my children in this play. We had watched the movie, and started making plans to fit this into our lives. Before I hung up the phone, I had a thought that I should remind the director that I would have to consult the whole family before we could commit to the play for sure.
The phone call ended and I gathered the family. Everyone was very excited about the play. My husband said that he supported the idea as long as it would work. I could tell that he was very proud of the talent of his children. I said that I thought it was a good idea. My daughter, started dancing around the room, she was so thrilled. My younger daughter, wanted to know if she could have a small role as well. My younger son, thought the whole thing sounded cool. My older son asked me if she named a part that he would be having.
I said that the actual casting of parts hadn't happened yet, but that he would get a lead part. He was pleased. Then the unexpected happened.
About a minute after my son was so pleased, he got a disturbed look on his faced and said, "Mom, I don't think we should do the play. If we do the play, we will have to be rushing out of our house all of the time. We will never be here." I tried to tell him that we would just have to make a little bit of sacrifice in order to have this experience. I also came up with ways that we could change our life, to make it easier to leave things without a rush.
"Mom, if we do this, you will have to change the time you teach Liberty Girls, and I will most likely miss Boy Scouts. We also won't ever have a day to play for five months, because Monday is family activity night." my son said.
Again, I thought we could make it work. I was looking at the gift my daughter has, and remembering that this year we didn't even sign her up for dance, because we were trying to do less. She already had to miss dance, she couldn't miss this. Our music mentor had done us such a great favor, and we had held a special audition. The director of the play had to make a special trip already. We couldn't put these people out. Plus, they had made it, and when you make a part, you don't turn your back on it. These were my thoughts and rationales.
"Mom, we already go to Salt Lake two days a week for other things. If we do this, we will have to drive out of town five days out of the week for five months. Besides, the traffic going that way on I-15, at that time of day, is really bad. Do you really want to drive in that stuff? In order to make it on time, we will have to cut out of my Key of Liberty class too. Mom, I will support what-ever we decide, but I think that this might not be a good idea."
I was starting to get the picture at this point. My 12 year old son was able to see things through the excitement that the rest of us didn't really care about at the time. I believe one reason we have families is so that there will always be someone who reminds the group what is really most important and my son certainly did.
"Mom, you have always said that FAMILY FIRST MEANS EVERYTHING ELSE SECOND. What will doing this play really do to our family?" Ouch! This was the kicker. He was right, and he was using my own philosophy to back up his argument.
I looked around the room at my family. My 10 year old singer was starting to cry, because she was afraid that she wouldn't get to have her time to shine. My 6 year old daughter was chiming in, that we should do the play too. My husband was gone to work. My 4 year old son was sitting on the floor reading a book. This picture of my 4 year old is what brought me back to reality. How could I justify putting him and my six year old through five months of being in the car for multiple hours a day, five days a week? How could I ever compensate for the time that would be lost? Would I ever even have time to read him books? I didn't know, and I wasn't willing to take the chance.
Another thought came to my mind at this point. When we didn't think that there was anywhere for my daughter to sing musical theatre, I started putting ideas together for how we could make a small musical production just for her where we live for our friends and family to come see. We could still do this. I asked her how she felt about the idea.
As you can imagine, compared with a lead role in a real Broadway musical, having her own little production didn't sound as special. Then I looked at her again. She is only 10 years old. She sings like she is much older, but she is still only 10. There will be other plays and other years for her to use her gift which God gave her.
Side note, my six year old immediately said that if Paije got to have her own show, she wanted to be in it. :)
After much consideration as a family, we KNEW that family had to come first, and it wouldn't be healthy for our family to do this project right now. Hopefully down the road, things like this will work out, but for now, we just can't.
Paije was in tears. My 12 year old was a little down too.
I told Paije to come with me. I took her into my room and knelt down with her. I started to pray. I asked for confirmation that we had made the right decision. We both KNEW that God was pleased with our decision to do less. We felt peaceful, connected, and excited about putting something small together for Paije to do on stage herself. After our prayer, Pajie said, "Mom, I really feel like I have this singing gift for something important in the future. I know that God is getting me ready to use my voice even if I don't do this play this year."
As I was going to bed that night, I started pondering on the experience we had as a family that day. The carrot was dangling in front of our family, and we were hungry, but we didn't take it because in the end it didn't fit into the principles we live by. Family First = Everything else second.
This year, we have seen a need and felt a desire to do less, and this week we had a huge victory! Learning to say NO to things that are really enticing, and practicing consulting God in our decisions were huge lessons. Ultimately, I think that these lessons will have more impact than the play would have been. I only wish that I could some how convey my thanks to our great music mentor and to the director of the children's theater for giving us the opportunity to really put our principles to the test and for making our family focus even clearer.