I remember the day my middle child asked me if he could play violin. I stammered, looked at him, picked my jaw up off the floor, and said, "blergnaschmurna?" I figured he'd play drums or bass guitar, but couldn't have seen a classical instrument coming if you paid me to. Now his brother, the one that was born 75 years old with bunions and a cane to wave the youngsters off his lawn? *He* is my classical music guy. He's played in the band since he was in grade two, and plays in three different bands today. 2of3 is really good at getting boogers out of his head.
So when he told me he wanted to play violin, all I could think was refinement! social graces! possibly less tattoos! and I immediately said yes, ran out to rent him a violin, and consulted my fellow tiger mom for tips to get him good, fast.
Fake musical interlude: screechle, screelche, little screeeeeeech, how I wonder how any parent survives goddamn violin lesson.
He's as good as your normal suburban white kid with an XBox problem. I don't make him practice as much as I should, it comes just easily enough for him that he doesn't have a true fear of failure, and his teacher thinks he's really adorable and being really adorable gets you freaking far in junior high school.
So of course he wants to quit. I mean, they're building catapults in shop. Do you have any idea how good catapult building looks on your MIT application*?
Of course I told him no, because learning to build catapults won't help him learn to speak other languages, or improve his posture, or teach him patient dedication, or get me Disgrasian of the Weak**, and besides, quitting is for suckers. We don't quit. We are Mr Ladys. We see things through***.
So I told him no and then I thought about it, and I looked around at the 18 pounds of origami folded all over the damn house, and I looked at him, and I talked to my boyfriend about it, and that's another story for another day but squee, and I got to thinking that all this time I knew Classy Classical Music in the Very Classy Orchestra wasn't going to be his thing, but building stuff? That's his bag. Just ask every scrap of paper he's ever turned into a flower or car or bracelet.
And then I quit not letting him quit. I signed the forms he needed and let him drop out of violin class for industrial tech. Because it suits him better, nothing more. (Of course, every 7th grade boy in this area code wants to build catapults and after all that they denied his request to transfer so I get another semester of Ukrainian Bell Carol, his playing of which disgraces his ancestors in a way that none of us will ever truly comprehend until our day of reckoning. But it makes me thankful for my Ukrainainly-genetic tolerance to grain alcohols.)
And my point is that he has all these opportunites and choices in life, and I am so grateful for the luck that we've had to be in the position to have to choose between catapults and violins. Not every kid has these choices.
But more kids can. I know my last post was about this, but my this post is about this, too. Clorox's Power a Bright Future Grant helps school win money to support programs that inspire play, creation, and exploration. They help more kids get the chance to choose between violins and catapults. How we can help is simply by voting at https://powerabrightfuture.clorox.com/. Anyone 13 and older can vote once a day until December 19th.
It's a big freaking deal for a school to get money that doesn't have to go to books or food. It's a big freaking deal to build a catapult in junior high school. It's a big enough deal that I'm working with Clorox all the way until the end of the program to get more votes for schools. (Like, I posted twice. THIS MONTH) Take a moment to vote, or have your kids vote, or have them post to Instagram for a chance to win their own prizes (like we have here and here).
It's free, it only takes a moment, and it could very well change a kid's life.
*probably pretty damn good, actually.
**lifelist item #20
***Unless of course those things are pre-K soccer, scrapbooking, making our own advent calendars, yoga, keeping leopard geckos alive, bloggin, the gifted and talented writing club, and/or marriage vows.