I was reflecting on childhood music recitals this morning. I had to do them when I was a kid. And I was a pretty shy little kid. The idea of getting up in front of a bunch of people and doing something that might involve mistakes was not my idea of fun.
Originally I was a flautist, which is the correct term for a guy that plays the butt of jokes. By the age of 9, I’d heard the term “skin flute” more times than a West Hollywood barrista/gay porn screenwriter.
I still play the flute every so often, of course. The real one, I mean. Don’t be a jackass. And it’s a badass instrument when played well. Plus, all the other flautists were all always girls and it’s an instrument that develops strong lips….. Laaaadies….
As a kid, you’re scared to make a mistake in front of a room full of adults. Especially a bunch of adults that would rather be digging their own graves than listening to a version of
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by some kid they’re not even related to by marriage.
Freud had a theory that adults reenact the traumas of their childhood. Welcome to the show, friends. I’m like a stripper with more clothes, more jokes, and less money.
Had I known then what I know now as a performer, I could have handled those mistakes more effectively. I’d have just turned to the audience and said, “Well, I fucked that up pretty good, didn’t I?” Nobody would have said a damn thing after that.
Because now I know both how to control a room full of people AND not give a crap what they think of me. Those skills in a 9 year old are great… and usually cause for suspension.
And it might have been different if there were a real audience there. Like recital groupies that would hang out by the stage door and say, “Steven, I really liked the way you played Itsy Bitsy Spider tonight. It was so hot!”
I think, based on Freud’s research, a cool parenting trick would be to traumatize your kid into a well paying career. If you want your kid to be a financial analyst, ask his advice on how much to budget for your IRA. When he says “a million trillion dollars”, do that. That’s sound financial planning.
If you want your kid to become a doctor, don’t baby her when she comes to you hurt. Just say, “And what is your diagnosis?” And don’t accept anything less than “an abrasion of the patella”. “Boo-boo on my knee” will not suffice.
If you want your kid to be a politician…. You should be sterilized immediately. Shame on you for bringing that kind of person into the world. That’s like raising a feral dog that sends out dick pictures on Twitter.
Traumatize your kids responsibly, Friends!