It’s ironic that we must study handbooks and pass rigorous written and practical exams in order to get a license to drive a car but no such education exists for bringing a child into this complicated world. This motivational article for parents by Modern Day Mastery co-founder, Rick Beneteau, sheds a little light on what it takes to build self-worth in children by instilling a sense of passion and purpose at an early age.

I wasn’t expecting a flood of tears to come gushing down my face, but I found it difficult to dam it up for almost the entire first half of the performance.

Witnessing one apple of my eye, my oldest daughter, performing on stage with my youngest grandson in The Nutcracker was almost too much to take in one sitting. But indeed I took it with great nostalgia and pride as Cameron played Fritz, the spoiled and rascally son of the governess, played by Sara. Rushing back were memories of delivering Sara to dance lessons, rehearsals, competitions, recitals, fundraising events and conventions, year after year, witnessing the progress as talent and geography expanded to include destinations like New York and Las Vegas.

Now, in this precious moment, a very similar road was being paved for and by Cameron, nine years old, with a dancing talent and passion even more profound than his mom. His large dance school, the one his mother attended, put a dance competition team together around the little guy three years ago. They dominate the competition in every city they compete in. And Sara couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities.

The Circle of Life!

Sitting next to me during this, in his mind at least, ordeal, being fidgety at best, was the “Phantom”, another shiny apple, my oldest grandson. It was the second or third time Corbin was carted along to watch his mom ‘n bro perform. What Cameron is to sensitive, artsy and creative, Corbin is to rough, tough and athletic. He was given this nickname by his football coach because in his first year of playing on the field, he became a very sleek and stealthy stalker of prey – whoever on the opposing team was carrying the football. His offense-disrupting tackle, assist and quarterback sac stats were fabulous for a freshman. After several years of trying out things like karate, golf, swimming, track and field and so on with little to no interest on Corbin’s part, he finally found a niche and his all-consuming passion.

I could only imagine where Mr. Beat ‘Em and Bang ‘Em was wishing he could be, while watching the twinkling of glittery costumes and shuffling of slippered feet tucked in unmanly tights. Zoning in on another about-to-be-tackled quarterback would surely be one of them.

On Sundays during football season, while not attending games in his hometown, I find myself feverishly flicking the remote control, rummaging through the sports channels trying to get caught up on football statistics so that Corb and I can jibber jabber about the latest, greatest gridiron stories. He leaves me in the dust with his profound knowledge of the game I’ve always thought of as the modern day version of the gladiators!

The point I am making with en face frères (opposite brothers), who by the way, love and support one another as best as young boys can, is that each of my grandsons has, at this early stage, discovered at least their prepubescent passion, and purpose. Grandfatherly biases aside, my prediction is that Cameron will continue to flourish in the arts and with the continued support of family, friends and his dance school, move forward with his profound love of dance which will eventually evolve into a career of either performing, choreography, teaching, or starting his own dance school. He loves it that much!

On the other limb of my tree in the orchard, we have been told by more than one coach, even opposing coaches, that at this early stage, Corbin fits the mold to become a professional football player, perhaps in the Canadian Football League, or better, the NFL. Many years of dedication and practice, fueled by his passion, success at high school and college ball, would be the blueprint for him to even qualify for those leagues of course, so, time will tell for both him and for Cameron.

Dear parent or person of influence in a child’s life,

Children who are left to watch television or play video games, or otherwise spend hour after precious hour each day doing mindless things will most likely carry those lazy habits into later life and join the majority of adult underachievers in this world. Be it dance, football, gymnastics, swimming or theatre, encouraging the child in your life to try out character-building activities will begin to build a foundation, or even be a prescription, for achievement and a fulfilled life. Your role is to be their role model and their cheerleader.

I swear Cameron danced down the birth canal and he started his passion quest early on, but it took the most of Corbin’s ten years and a lot of effort on his mom’s part to help him finally discover that football was something he could sink his teeth into. Even if that thing is not what the child wants to seriously pursue later in life, essential character-building virtues will have been instilled into their belief systems at such an important time in their lives. And years later, when raising their own children, they will pass on the priceless lesson.

Ahh, The Circle of Life!

It was Crosby, Stills and Nash that sang, “Teach, the children well.” Teach the children in your life to
get off the sideline and get into the game
™. They, and their children, will thank you later!

©Rick Beneteau

Updates:

Three years later, Cameron was chosen the Tremaine Dance 2011-2012 Junior Dancer of the Year in Orlando, Florida and won Junior National DUO/TRIO High Score at the same event in 2013. on August 15th, he is front and center performing in the opening ceremonies for the 2013 Children’s Olympics being held in Windsor, Ontario.

Corbin enjoyed two more years excelling in PeeWee becoming captain of the defense and was scouted for this area’s Ontario Varsity League (OVL) travel team, The Essex Ravens, his Bantam team making it all the way to the Conference finals. He now coaches his former PeeWee team, will play for the Ravens Jr. Varsity team next season as well as  for his high school team.

Rick Beneteau Rick Beneteau is co-founder of Modern Day Mastery.
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