Let’s Put On a Show!

Over the almost two decades that we actively homeschooled, there were many times that I questioned whether I was doing the right thing or  adequately preparing my children for a successful future. Then, there were those radiant moments when I inwardly shouted, “YES!!!”

I remember one such moment when I found a few of our children hands deep in some building material they had concocted, creating a replica of Butchart Gardens, the magnificent site in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, that we often visited on our summer boating trips. (Of course schoolchildren can also do such an activity, but homeschooling gave our kids the time and space to spontaneously move forward with ideas such as this one.)

I fear that even homeschooled students might have a harder time acting on impulses like this today.  Why? Because when an idea like this pops into much of this generation’s minds, the first instinct is to Google and see who else has done this, how they have done it, and even if they managed to monetize it. By the time the “research” is finished, the desire has been quenched, especially if a video of a similar activity has gone viral.

The 1939 movie Babes in Arms with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland predates me by quite a few years, but the theme of “Let’s put on a show,” that the movie championed was a mantra of my childhood. Our own children regularly put on performances, often with neighborhood friends. From concept to execution, including script-writing, props, costume creation and rehearsals, often was the work of one or two days. These easily forgotten shows were not videoed or taped—they were just a fun activity. The parents and some incredibly gracious residents of our cul-de-sac served as the cheering audience. (We did video more serious performances that were the culmination of weeks of practice.)

Is it possible that when the request, “Take a video of me doing this,” becomes standard, and certainly the more the potential of popularizing and monetizing activities looms in kids’ minds, the fewer ideas will actually be executed and enjoyed? That would be sad indeed.

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