February 3, 2012

What I've Learned from American Idol

If American Idol has taught us anything it's that parent's shouldn't lie to their kids. Or they will end up on the show like the sad, socially awkward ones who get their hearts broken when they're told they can't sing. The other night, this kid was like "I just don't understand because my whole life I've been told I'm an excellent singer." How crushing is that? If I had a heart that would have made mine cry.

Tell your kids they're perfect that's fine (because I'm sure they really are and you bet your ass mine WILL BE) but don't tell them they are good at something like singing when they SUCK ASS! Not only could they get their hopes and dreams crushed but they could also end up in a hilarious-to-everyone-else video montage of them telling the world how great of a singer they are with clips of them biting the curb on the way out the door. As entertaining as that is to me, I'm pretty sure that has scarred the kid for life. I would hope that it would result in a wake up call and not a suicide attempt.

I remember loving to sing when I was younger. (I still do but only a few select get the opportunity to hear it. It's reserved for the car and the shower and annoying my husband.) I was in choir in junior high and in church. My church friends were super into singing. Singing was a big deal and I even thought at one point I might be able to do it but when I would sing in front of my mom and ask her for her honest opinion she would kindly tell me that I have work to do or she would get the "I love you and you know I think you're awesome but maybe this isn't for you" FACE. I was smart enough to pick up on that face. Thank God! There was a group of us girls at church who hung out a lot and the majority of us could sing. There were the two rock star singers, two less-than-mediocre singers (me included), and then there were the rest. One knew it wasn't for her so she didn't even attempt it but then there was the one who thought life began and ended with her singing. She was beyond passionate which only made things worse. It made things hard for her because this was her dream and worse for us because how do you give someone the hard honest truth that isn't your sibling? This girl came into our lives with this delusion. We couldn't just take it away from her. That wouldn't have been very "christian" of us. It was her mother's fault for letting her think she was Celine Dione. I could go off on this even more than I have but it's best to end it soon. We would even go to fine arts festivals to be judged on various artistic skills and when she got up and sang the room cringed and we had to put on the nice face after she was done. It was brutal. This went on for years. Years I tell you!!

I contemplated singing a song for Tyrone at our wedding. I even wrangled his bass player into playing the song with me (which he was awesome enough to learn) but after hearing myself on my phone's recording it just wasn't going to happen. I tried to tell myself that it didn't matter and that it would have been "sweet" but I knew in the end that was all horse shit

Parent's, don't lie to your kids.


Kendahl, Stepmom Extraordinaire said...

Haha I've been struggling with this lately - where is the line between being supportive and being honest so they don't chase after dreams they are obviously not going to hit? Hailey had a friend tell her she sounds just like Katy Perry and then she asked if I liked Katy Perry and I just bit my tongue. :\ Eek.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Brandy! I have always had very supportive parents, but they have always told me their honest opinion and when it turned out I wasn't particularly good at something I could rely on their advice whether to carry on or not.

But what's much worse than parents who don't tell their kids when they suck at something are parents who push their kids to their limits and beyond EVEN THOUGH they might not be talented in that field. And shows like American Idol are quite a good example here... I mean, how many times do you see backstage interviews with families who tell the interviewer how incredibly supportive they are because it was their own childhood dream that never came true and then they interview the candidates and they go: "Why did you want to sing in the first place?" -"Um, well, my mom and dad wanted me to." And then they go out on stage and you just wonder how on earth they could possibly have the courage to show their faces on telly - with THAT voice... :) So yeah, I absolutely agree with you: don't lie to your kids (and don't push them to do something that is not meant to be).