How do you react when someone tells you “you can’t do that” or “you shouldn’t do that?” Do you doubt yourself? Do you say “well, they are my boss/spouse/teacher and they know more than I do.” Do you let your dreams and ambitions suffer because of external forces?
I have no children by birth, but I am blessed with two amazing goddaughters and five grand godchildren. One of my grand goddaughters, my namesake Emma Kate, is in her first year of college in North Carolina. Since I worked a combined 14 years between the Asolo Theatre Company and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, I’m thrilled that Emma Kate chose to enter a theatre program. In the first week after arriving on campus, she was cast as Emily in Our Town! The review of her performance read like this: “Her character’s arc of a slightly stuck up but sweet and conflicted woman is done so efficiently that it comes across better than in some big budget Hollywood romances.” So, of course, I’m tremendously proud of her.
While I AM proud of her, this post isn’t just to brag about her. Because here’s the thing: one of her High School Drama Teachers told her to not focus on being a performer; that she would be best suited for the production crew. Luckily the Drama Teacher in her last year saw her talent and told her that she should pursue acting and he cast her in roles that challenged her and allowed her to shine. What if Emma Kate had followed what the first teacher said instead of believing in herself and following her own heart and passion? I’m glad that she had another teacher to support her commitment to acting but, knowing her, she would have still gone forward even without his support. Emma Kate is a dedicated, fiercely committed, and determined young woman. She has been cast in her second college production which opens this weekend and I am so excited to see where her talent and her dreams will take her.
This is a lesson for all teachers, parents, and anyone who has children in their lives: cheer them on, push them, support them. Do not tell them what they cannot achieve! And while you’re at it, remember the child that is within you! Do not let people in your life tell you what you are or are not capable of! Cheer yourself on! Push yourself! And please, please, please support yourself!
“I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” ~ Vincent van Gogh