Okay, so I’m a human potential, personal growth advocate. It’s what I promote in my other life – when I’m not managing my son’s dance career and acting as his personal chauffeur, cook, maid and cooley (and being treated as such). (If you want to know more, go to www.purespiritcreations.com.) And I was a New Age junkie, and maybe I still am. (I am.) I listen to Jack Canfield tapes, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other books, including The Aladdin Factor, a book which is all about asking for what you want.
Needless to say, with this in mind, I’ve been really struggling with the fact that my son won’t speak up and ask for what he wants when it comes to dance. You see, while he did manage to get moved up to the “higher class” on Tuesdays (See “Is This the Right Dance Studio for My Son?” post) because I asked, on Mondays he really wants to get moved up to the higher ballet and modern classes as well. This desire became especially strong last week when for some reason the whole company – all 21 dancers – were grouped together for both ballet and then modern. When he got into the modern class, he was finally able to participate in some more challenging modern moves. He suddenly he was asked to do combinations and really awesome choreography. He was thrilled, not to mention challenged.
I showed up for the last 10 minutes of the class and watched. He saw me and encouraged the teacher to let them do the choreography at least two more times. I was amazed! He looked great! The choreography required him to do this roll into a leap and he came up maybe four or five feet off the floor! And his technique was beautiful. He may not have performed the combination as well as some of the top dancers but he did it pretty well, I think, from my untrained eye.
He came out of the studio and told me that was the most fun he’d had at Teen Dance Company to date (5 weeks…) and that he also had learned more and felt more challenged than in any other class he’d taken there so far.
I”m sure you can guess what I encouraged him to do: Ask to be moved up. Now, I had already told him I thought he should talk to the teacher, who had said Julian was not ready to move up to the “higher” level class, and ask him to help Julian learn the basics quickly so he could move up before year’s end. After watching Julian dance, I told him to flat out ask if he could move up based on that evening’s performance, but Julian balked. He said, “I’m afraid. I don’t want to make Brian mad or make him feel pressured.”
All right. I conceded and suggested he tell the teacher how he felt about that evening’s class, and say that he REALLY wanted to get into the “higher” class as soon as he could, and what could he do to get there…how could the teacher help him get there. Julian said he “might” do this.
OMG. I felt so frustrated…more frustrated, obviously, than Julian, who I am sure will not ever go talk to Brian about this despite me flapping my jaw about it for about three days straight. So, is it a boy thing? Are boys, who should be so courageous and willing to fight battles, simply unwilling to fight their own battles, or is it just my kid?
If it were me, I’d be asking for what I wanted. I wouldn’t sit in that class another day without at least saying that I loved that other class and I want to know how to get into it ASAP.
As Jack Canfield says, the only way to get what you want is to ask for it. I totally agree.
Maybe Julian’s unwillingness to ask for what he wants simply comes down to a developmental issue. Maybe he needs to grow up.
I don’t know. I’m sure girls have the same issue…but I have a boy. And it just drives me nuts, because I sure am tired of fighting his battles for him. I want to put down my sword and shield, especially since lately I seem to be defending myself more from his verbal attacks then anything else (ungrateful little you know what…well, I guess that’s an age thing too and my hormones are raging along with his, so I take it way too personally).
In any case, I wish he’s pick up the sword and shield – he used to love playing with them as a kid – and fight his own battle. I wish he’d walk in to that studio with confidence and tell his teacher exactly how much he loved his modern class and simply say, “May I be in the higher class from now on?” What’s the worst that can happen? The teacher says, “No.” As Canfield says, “He won’t be any worse off than before.”
Of course, I’ll have to pick up the pieces and offer a Canfield-like pep talk, but I’m pretty good at that. I forgot to mention that I also serve as my dancing son’s constantly-on-call therapist and life coach.