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Acting, and great loves

We spent the last month, or I should say Calvin spent the last month, preparing for a stage production of The Wizard of Oz. He's been in several plays before this one, but this production was with a local professional theater company that we've had season tickets to for a number of years—Wild Swan. Though they do not usually cast children in their shows, when the casting call came up for a handful of the younger set, Calvin was excited to give it a try.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive about the whole thing. The schedule looked like a lot of long rehearsals, culminating in six shows over four days in what promised to be a tightly packed, large auditorium. Calvin's prior experience was limited to homeschool productions that, while they were really cute and very well done, consisted of weekly one hour rehearsals and a single showing in front of a very small and forgiving audience of friends and family. And they didn't pay for their seats.

Of course you know where this is going—I was wrong to have worried. When Calvin played his first part on stage with our homeschool group three years ago he had a tiny speaking part of about one line. He delivered it with aplomb, and in the next term's play was given a greater speaking part, and so on until this past term when he landed the lead (in Peter Pan, which is coming up in a couple of weeks). He has a mind for memorizing the lines, and a great love for playing make-believe, and those things translate well to the stage.

And here is where I get least a little bit. I have always maintained that homeschooling for us was meant to allow the kid to bloom to his full extent. We wanted to give him a chance to learn at his own pace, and to pursue whatever loves he found in life when he found them. And he every time he excelled at a subject, or every time he demonstrated great interest or easy mastery, I've wondered if he was showing, by his achievement, the first steps toward discovering such a great love. But the truth is, I was missing the forest for the trees. Calvin's greatest love is really reading, but not just the reading. For him it's a matter of living the book. He acts out the chapters, he requests character costumes, he lives the books he loves. He acts the books he loves. For Christmas he asked for tickets to see A Midsummer Night's Dream and Alice in Wonderland, and for his birthday he requested theater camp.

Maybe it won't last. I remember when he was pretty small his great love was trains and I thought we were settling in for a life-long hobby, but the interest faded away. But right now this is his great love, and I am incredibly excited to be able to give him free reign to explore that path, and follow him as far down it as he wants to go.

The Wizard of Oz was fantastic. Wild Swan was fantastic in working with the kids. The entire experience was a wonderful one. He is already planning his audition for the next big show.

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