February 4, 2010

Following talent...

My friend Caroline has been trying, for about a week now, to convince me to sign J up for T-Ball ("it's free for first-timers this year!" she says), and C for baseball ("it's only $80!" she tells me). Aside from my financial situation, it kind of seems like a good idea, but also not such a good idea.

Both boys are the long and lean type. They have energy like nobody's business. I'd kill to have just a third of their energy (mainly so I could keep up with them!). Being outside, running, playing, riding bikes, these things are pretty much what they live for. Rainy days, super cold days are the end of the world for them; you could literally think someone died the way they act.

C has a good arm. He can throw a ball pretty far, and I think he throws like a boy (I wouldn't really know; I throw like a girl. What can I say?). The whole hitting the ball with the bat...well, we're working on it. J throws pretty far as well, but he's more into tackling, so I think he'd probably be better suited to football.

Here's my thing, though. I'm a very creative person. I've never been into athletics. Just not my thing. And I'm fine with it if it turns out that athletics are their thing. I used to write poetry and stories (I've lost my inspiration for that though.). Most people who read my writing think I'm pretty good at it. I'm also into photography. I can't draw a picture to save my life, but I can take one with a camera, and my family and most of my friends think I'm pretty talented.

My grandfather (my mom's dad) had an amazing ability with a camera. He could take the most incredible pictures of the most ordinary situations. He could also draw a picture. My mother has a picture that he drew of a log cabin in the woods. I thought that picture was a professionally done picture until my mom told me one day that my grandfather drew it.

The best compliment I think I ever received was when my mom was looking at some pictures I took one day and told me that I had my grandfather's talent with the camera. My grandfather died when I was only 4 or 5 years old, so I have very limited memories of him, but those that I do have are filled with love.

I think C has inherited my grandfather's drawing ability. Obviously, he's only 8 (I'm trying really hard not to think about how he's almost 9), so his work is still a little crude, definitely not perfect, and mostly limited to Spongebob Squarepants and lizards and the like, but what he does draw he does amazingly well. He also seems to have that same natural ability with the camera that my grandfather and I have. I let him take a camera on his field trip a few months ago and he took some photos that were really great, and on other occasions, he's swiped my camera and taken some good pictures.

Which is why, although I appreciate Caroline's enthusiasm and her wish to see my boys play ball and hang out with me while our 3 boys have fun, I think I'm not going to do it.

I think I'd rather encourage the talent that I see in C. He may be great at baseball. And if he wants to play, now or in the future, I will encourage and support him every step of the way. But he shows no real interest in it. His interests really seem to lie with drawing, and other more creative pursuits. I want to encourage that, support that, and know that he is truly enjoying what he is doing than to encourage him to do something that doesn't really seem to excite him.

Everyone has something they are passionate about doing. Those are the things that we most enjoy, and would gladly give up just about every other activity to do. C seems pretty passionate about his drawing, and I want to stoke that fire and keep that passion going. Maybe someday he'll become a professional artist. Maybe not. But I know he has the ability, and I'm going to make sure he doesn't waste it.

As for J...well, he's only 6, and we're still trying to figure him out. He likes to do a little bit of everything, it's impossible to narrow him down just yet. He, too, has swiped my camera and taken good pictures, so maybe that'll be his thing. Or maybe playing football and trying to break bones will be his thing (is it bad that I'm hoping it'll be the camera that he'll go for?).

Now I just hope I can explain all this to Caroline in such a way that she won't be upset with me. Maybe I can offer to come take some pictures of her son at practice to appease her? We'll see.

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