Friday, February 26, 2010

Pirouettes and Rocket Science

            After playing with Celia for an hour, I went upstairs to grab a cable off the desk and she followed me up, sat at the computer and looked at me with puppy-eyes.
            “Okay, we can watch something,” I said.
            I moved the mouse to see what was on the screen. Michelle had borrowed some DVD’s from the library, and Swan Lake was halfway through. I pressed Play and we started watching elegant ladies in tutus fluttering about to delicate orchestral music.
            Celia and I were both riveted for awhile, then Celia began to raise her hands above her head. Amused, I watched her flap her arms a couple of times, and bob her head back and forth, then I said, “Let me see you do ballet.”
            I set her on the floor, and she began to bend her knees, then straighten up with her arms raised above her head, all the while lilting her head back and forth. She walked over to the mirror and watched herself. I grinned ear to ear. My daughter. Doing ballet. Who’d’ve thought?
            “Do a pirouette,” I said. Celia looked at me and lifted a foot. I laughed. That was pretty good, by my standards.
            It struck me that our kids are sponges. They soak up everything around them. If I wanted her to get into ballet, all I’d have to do is expose her to ballet all the time. If I wanted her to get into mathematics, I could teach her at a young age with all sorts of videos available at the library.
            It’s amazing to me that so many kids just get “whatever” instead of intentional choices for what they’re exposed to. Here we have an opportunity to see our kids grow in whatever world-class field we want, and we end up defaulting to dancing puppets. Entertaining? Yes. Brainless? Definitely.
            Makes me stop and think. I’m going to keep some ballet videos in the house, and maybe add a few more genres that catch my eye; wildlife films, Spanish stuff, rocket science. Why not? If my kid’s into it, the world’s the limit.

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