It’s possible that the fact that I was a theatre teacher in my pre-motherhood life has something to do with why I believe it is important to teach kids to be comfortable in front of an audience.
Truly, though, there are many reasons why experience in front of a crowd will help prepare them for life.
- At some point in school, they’ll give an oral report or a speech.
- In the workplace, those who are comfortable leading a meeting or presentation will advance more quickly.
- If your child has a special gift or passion, it can only be fully utilized if they’re willing to share it with others!
My advice for developing these skills? Have a family talent show!
When the extended family gathers for Christmas, it’s the perfect time to schedule an evening of zany fun! My family holds an annual talent show, and we keep it as simple as can be. Gathered in a crowded living room, Grandpa acts as emcee and introduces each individual or group act. Before the show, he’s gathered the titles of the acts from each participant. And everyone participates!
Before you dismiss this idea as something only a performer’s family would do . . . let me assure you that I am the oddball in my family. My favorite thing about our talent shows is our very open definition of the word talent!
For example, here are some things we’ve seen in our shows:
- a five-year-old boy shadow boxing for three minutes straight
- an eight-year-old girl standing on her head, leaned against the wall
- sibling-written plays
- a science teacher uncle doing a simple experiment
- a cousin’s fiance showing how to hold a softball for different kinds of pitches
- a librarian aunt reading her favorite children’s story
- Grandma demonstrating how they used to make bedrolls before sleeping bags were common
The possibilities are endless! And of course, classic talents are wonderful too. Last year, my seven year old took advantage of the only time in his life when he could sing the song “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” My sister-in-law and niece sang a song from a choir Christmas program, and I often perform monologues dragged out from my college days.
Even though my theatrical heart is warmed by all of my family members getting up on stage, my favorite part of our annual tradition is learning more about each of my family members. Our bond is strengthened as we become vulnerable, as we share our passions, and as we cheer one another on in this fun activity.