Wait…this post is intended for every singer, not just those who have (or will have) children. The relationship that each of us has with our singer-self (and with “the voice” itself) is a lot like that of a parent and child. Just as the role of a parent changes according to the seasons of life, so change our responsibilities towards the creative self. At various times, we must encourage, demand, challenge, affirm, and enable the singer-self to find its potential. Yet, at all times, the care that we offer must be based on love and acceptance, even when it is “tough.”
One must take an honest view of the talents with which he/she is gifted. When a singer receives the compliment, “You have a beautiful voice!” or other such accolades (music to our ears), the appropriate response is, “Thank you.” That same expression of gratitude is more rightly addressed to the One who created our minds, bodies, souls and spirits in the first place. Truly, the singer did absolutely nothing to acquire those talents.
To recognize, believe in, train and develop one’s gifts, though — here is where the opportunity for good parenting presents itself. The mother or father who senses talent (potential excellence) in a child should make it possible for the child to explore the medium (sports, music, acting, visual art, writing, etc.). Those parents make available performances, recordings, trips to museums, etc., for the gifted child, in order to spark his/her interest and stir the young imagination.
Those parents make it possible for the child to pursue training and development as he/she matures, often at great sacrifice. (Lang Lang and his parents come to mind.) Throughout the entire process of growth and exploration, a number of parental traits can be identified. Though certain parents find certain attributes easy to display, necessary parenting skills often require deliberate strategizing and practice. Among the characteristics of good parenting are love, patience, vision, calm, honesty, optimism, and encouragement in the face of fatigue and/or disappointment. The parent helps the child to joy in discovery and growth, but never fosters complacency.
Do other traits of good parenting come to mind? How faithfully do you — the creative artist — nourish your own gifted self, from the viewpoint of a wise and committed parent? More to follow in future posts.