I haven’t been following NBC’s The Voice this season, but my two-year-old daughter skipped her nap the other evening, which allowed me to put her to bed super early—at 6:45pm! With this excess of free time, I ordered Chinese food and sent my husband out to pick it up.
I got cozy with my wonton soup and veggie egg roll, and then I tuned in as two contestants in a “battle round” were being introduced. Viewers heard the story of 16-year-old Treeva Gibson, who was chosen for Christina Aguilera’s team. Treeva experiences partial hearing loss, and she overcame the challenges of this to pursue her passion of singing. But what’s also incredible—both of Treeva’s parents are deaf.
Our parents are our first cheerleaders; they are the people who bring us to early practices, stay late at competitions in odd locations, purchase the gear we need to succeed. And Treeva’s parents could not even hear her talented voice.
Some may say that this is a sad story about parents who cannot fully enjoy their daughter’s God-given talent. I disagree.
They trusted their child’s passion. This is so inspiring.
Anyone who has watched Treeva, including myself now, understands that singing is quite clearly her dream. She looks incredibly happy and inspired when she is on stage. Her parents didn’t even need to hear her. They could see it in her eyes, in her smile and through her dedication that singing was what she was meant to do.
Treeva took the stage with a confidence in her abilities that not many 16-year-olds could have projected. The show flashed to a shot of her lovely parents, proudly cheering her on. She won the battle round, and her parent’s were, again, ecstatic. They hadn’t heard the performance, but they had trusted that look in their child’s eyes.
Imagine if, as parents, we all took this approach. What if we encouraged our children to follow their dreams—the activities that excite them—even when we cannot relate to the particular activity ourselves. What if we blocked out the noise associated with supporting our children, and just based our support on their pure joy. Saw their passion. Felt their love of their chosen interest without needing to know that much about it. Trusted our child’s passion; trusted the importance of this passion to further our child’s growth.
This trust reminds me of all the times my parents sat through my horseback riding lessons as a young girl. They would even wake up at 5a.m. to drive me to a local stable where I would spend hours brushing, braiding and cleaning my horse in preparation for a horse show later that day. They would cheer me on from the stands of a hot, dusty and smelly arena while I competed in long days of events on my pony. They couldn’t have told you the difference between a halter and a bridle, but they were there because their daughter loved this activity.
My sister was involved in baton competitions. I can pretty much guarantee that my dad could not relate to her passion for getting all “glammed up” as an eight-year-old and twirling around in a sparkly early 90’s tutu. But both of our parents were there, cheering her on as she threw her baton to music from Flashdance and Hang on Sloopy. (Her instructor had eclectic music tastes).
Can you think of a time when you let your kid explore a passion without understanding it yourself? Do you remember a time when your parents trusted your passion, and let you follow your dream?
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