Tonight is our school’s annual Family Fun Night. Apparently today’s definition of Fun is for a couple hundred pre-teen girls in groups of 4 or 5 with matching outfits to lip synch to one of two mind numbing pop songs. I suppose in years past this would have been called a Talent Show and the kids would actually have to sing. But like so many things these days we’ve managed to sanitize it to take all of the talent out of it. Heaven forbid that little Timmy look bad onstage next to little Jimmy who can actually play the guitar.
I guess Timmy wasn’t having any fun singing off-key so some wise child psychologist stepped in and saved the day by finding a way for everybody to get applause. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fun, but what are we teaching thee kids? Super Villain Syndrome from The Incredibles said it well when he said, ‘when everybody is super, no one is.’
There are always a few brave kids who play a real instrument or sing without any canned lyrics. The audience is never sure what to do at these moments. Usually a hush falls over the auditorium as they wait to see if they will crash and burn. What do we do if he’s horrible, do we clap anyway? Is he having fun? I don’t think he’s having fun, someone call the school psychologist!
I know for a fact that the girl closing the show tonight will really be singing, I heard her in rehearsal doing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin.’ Will Neal Schon be calling her to audition soon? No, but she’s pretty damn good AND she’s having fun. The best part of her performance is that while she was singing at rehearsal all of her friends and classmates jump up from their seats and rush to the front of the stage. I encouraged them all to do this again at the performance even if they’re warned not to because you could see the excitement on her face as they all massed in front of her.
And Valentine’s Day? When I was a kid we each had a mailbox and you’d walk around and deliver a valentine to whomever you wished. Not to every kid in the class because that’s what you were told to do by the note that went home from the teacher. At the end of this we would all dump our mailboxes onto our desks and start counting. It wasn’t long before everyone knew who got the most and who got the least. Now I don’t remember anyone getting NO valentines, we weren’t completely cruel. But the fact was that some were more popular than others and that was ok.
That sort of thing is going to happen for the rest of their lives. Some will be popular and some won’t. Doesn’t make them bad people, just happens. It might be a good idea to prepare them now.