Took my boy to a performing arts school yesterday. The school is called Stage Left which trains kids (aged from four till sixteen) in drama acting, singing and dancing. It was a trial class that lasted for one hour. I wanted to make sure he loves it before I enroll him.
Yesterday's session was the last one for the school term. So, the kids pretty much knew each other quite well and were very comfortable doing all sorts of moves, making all sorts of noises and facial expressions. In the first ten minutes, my boy was pretty shy - not moving at all when everyone was dancing the beat. Then there were other games where the kids had to perform certain acts one by one. So, my boy could not 'escape' and did it anyway.
About twenty minutes into the class, he became quite warmed up, and during the whole of second half he was pretty much relaxed because I could see his smile when watching other kids perform. Then came a game where kids had to dance to a song and stop as soon as the song pauses. At every pause, a few kids would be eliminated. The last two kids who remained dancing and stopping till the very end would be the winners. Everyone will then come and give the two winners hugs and huddles. This game (I'm sure there is a name for it but I could not hear what the name was from outside the room) was played twice. In the second round, my boy was one of the two winners. Being an introvert, that was clearly an effective icebreaker for him! He clearly enjoyed it.
On the way home, I asked if he enjoyed the class and if he wanted to join the class every week. He said yes to both questions. I felt my my did pretty well considering this was his first class. Then I thought, indirectly and subtly, the teacher had actually done a great job in helping him blend in. How do you decide who is the winner or loser in that play-and-pause-dance-and-stop game, right? Eventually, I figured out that most probably, the teacher wanted kids to feel loved and supported because they learn best in such an environment - one where you will never be made to look stupid for doing 'stupid', crazy and funny things. So, she would then pre-determine who the winners will be for each game that is being played.
If the child is confident in and comfortable with himself, he is more likely to learn and perform better in every aspect. Of course, he has to earn his praise and recognition based on the merits of his efforts and not have to his behavior being dictated by a sense of entitlements just by being confident for confidence sake.
Yesterday's trial class made me realize this - if you are not comfortable in being yourself, you aren't going to be free. And if you aren't free, no amount of intelligence and wisdom can help you realize your truest potential.
By that I mean the power of unleashing your power of creativity (and imagination) is way more important than your creative (and imaginative) power alone. And I think a performing arts school that help you do just that - tap into the talent you don't even know you have!