Our children are most precious in our lives. How many of us want to shield them from disappointment? How many of us want to share in their own victories? But both disappointment and victory are theirs, and theirs alone. It's difficult as a parent to step back and allow our children to be who they are, do things their own way, learn their own lessons. For their lives are not owned by us, the parents, but are really their own, to ultimately do with what they want. Our role is to guide, to support, not to live their lives as our own, but rather to help them live theirs.
He was between 3 and 4 years old when he first asked for the movie camera. My son was in kindergarten when he made his first full-feature DVD film. He was in second grade when he filmed his first documentary and both DVD's were placed in the school's library collection due to student demand. The summer of 2010, my son (and many friends as actors) began work on a movie production of a silent film version of the fable The Magic Fish. Ten months and over 120 hours later my son went to his own movie premiere held at the local community center, opening to a house of over 80 people who paid admission (and half as many purchasing the DVD for their private collection). My son prefers his work to be behind the camera as his passion is film directing.
Seeing as hubby and I are not in the business of show business, how to go about supporting such a budding passion without it becoming our own new career? Here's some things I've learned over the years.
1. We say "yes". When our son asked for the video camera before he was even 4 years old, we said "OK", feeding his curiosity.
2. We make sure our son ALWAYS makes the final decisions regarding his creations. We make suggestions sometimes so he can hear other perspectives, but ultimately it is his decision and we respect it.
3. We can only offer our support. It's hard at times but we have to insure that the work is our son's. We must remind ourselves this is our son's dream, not our own. We'll take him to shooting locations, we'll help him scout out locations, but the work and the drive MUST be his. If or when that stops being the case, we won't push, we'll back off. It doesn't mean it stopped being a passion. It's OK to take a break and see if the passion resurfaces.
4. As a supporter it is our job to find creative ways to feed the passion. My son is still young but he's had this dream of becoming a movie director since he was 3 years old. He doesn't have the knowledge as to how he can feed his passion, but we do. Be creative. For our son, the best film school he can possibly experience right now is watching old, classic movies.
5. We try hard to not allow our child's passion to become our own. Sometimes parents are still pushing the train out of the station but what they don't realize is the train has changed into a plane! We don't get so engrossed in our child's passions that we lose sight of the fact that our child's interests can and will change. Be flexible, don't get disappointed, and remain aware.
Is our son the next George Lucas or Ron Howard? Who knows? My son has many interests and he is still a child. Supporting growth in all areas is what our job as parents is all about. When we can create an environment where our child can take the risks he wants to take in pursuit of his own passions, knowing we are right behind him no matter what happens, we have lived our own dream.
Our son has begun a blog encouraging kids his age to give some of those older movies a try. You can find his reviews and other stories by clicking here.