By Lori Hope Baumel
Originally appeared in Around Wellington Magazine on June 1, 2014
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” – Attributed to Mark Twain
This time of year, with Mother’s Day behind us and Father’s Day around the corner, I am reminded of the joys, trials and tribulations of parenthood. There were so many times when the parenting books did not have the answers to the unique set of challenges each child presented. I learned, rather quickly, that raising my children required a degree of creativity that I had never practiced or prepared for.
The art of creative parenting has nothing to do with the visual or musical arts. Essentially, creative parenting is a set of skills that are largely improvised per your child’s needs. As my three children grew, I found myself in many situations where I had to stretch my imagination in order to come up with solutions.
For example, my daughter was (and still is) a wonderful performer. In addition to taking voice lessons in her early years, she studied dance. When she was about six years old she developed a fear of heights while rehearsing for her ballet recital on stage. I had one week to fix this problem!
I decided to “desensitize” her fear. I took her on a field trip to every stage available in the western communities. We started small and stopped by the little stage at her elementary school cafeteria. We both crawled on our hands and knees and felt each tile on the stage. We also repeatedly stepped down from it carefully. It made her feel secure knowing the actual depth and distance from stage to floor. Thereafter, every day, we did this exercise at several high school theaters and at the Royal Palm Beach Civic Center. Within a week, the problem was solved.
My youngest son had difficulty “thinking ahead” and making decisions. I thought deep and hard about how to exercise his mind in a forward thinking manner. Lo and behold, I taught him how to play chess. It is a game that requires the player to think of consequences that might occur several moves ahead. Not long after, he joined the chess team in elementary school and the competition encouraged him to think ahead more quickly. Believe it or not, it worked.
Recognizing potential in your children is an art as well. When my oldest son had his fifth grade “graduation party” at elementary school, I noticed that he insisted on taking charge of the music for the event. He brought at least thirty CD’s to the party, stood by the “boom box” and coordinated the flow of the music. His fellow students loved his song choices. Like many teens, over the next two years he became fascinated by what bands were making it to the top of the charts. Less than two years later, I suggested he “DJ” his sister’s summer pool party. He brought our home stereo outside, drafted some friends to help him and organized games for the party participants to play. The festivity was so successful that a parent at the party offered to pay him to DJ her daughter’s party. From that moment on, a business was born (Samix Enterprises – see photo above)
My husband and I loaned him $1600 to buy some professional DJ equipment. One job led to another… he paid back the loan within four months. Throughout middle school and high school, he was one of the hottest DJ’s in Wellington. For the first few years, he didn’t have a driver’s license and we had to load up our car and drive him to “gigs!” Eventually, he bought himself a tux, refined his skills and emceed at Sweet Sixteens, Bar Mitzvahs, school dances, special events and weddings.
The most beautiful aspect of this story is that when my oldest son went off to college, his sister and brother took over Samix Enterprises. My daughter had no problem DJ-ing on a stage and my younger son was able to “think ahead” and plan the next music set on the spot.
I have many more examples of the creative parenting I attempted in my life. I urge you, when faced with a parenting dilemma to think outside the box. Take the time to go the extra mile and do something out of the ordinary. The results can be EXTRAORDINARY!
Live… Go… Do!
Top 5 List for June 2014
1) Calling all third graders!
Have you ever wondered if your child is a potential Picasso or Oscar-bound actor? Prima ballerina or concert cellist? Award-winning author or roving reporter? On June 17th, the Center for Creative Education (CCE) will offer 60 rising third-grade students a unique opportunity to discover their passion for the arts. CCE is launching the “Discover Series”, a signature program that will allow young children to explore music, dance, theater, visual arts and media. The students do not have to have a specific talent or art experience. CCE is looking for kids with curiosity, a strong commitment to study the arts and the discipline to attend the weekly classes on a regular basis.
Students wishing to apply to the Discover Series must be Palm Beach County third-graders willing to commit to the program for the full three years. Those enrolled will be a part of the program from third through fifth grade. Tuition for the initial year’s 10-month program is $900 per student per year, but thanks to a $250,000 grant (from a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous) almost all of the openings are underwritten with full or partial, need-based, scholarships. Scholarship requests are available on the application. Registration and open houses are free and art supplies are provided.
Students will commit to one of two class times for the year – Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. or Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. No auditions or prior art experience is necessary and all materials will be provided. If the organization receives more applications than there are available spots, a waiting list will be created.
Weekly classes begin on June 17, 2014 and run through March 12, 2015, with breaks for holidays. Class sizes are limited and openings are available on a first-come, first-served, application basis. Classes will take place at 425 24th Street, CCE’s namesake facility in the heart of West Palm Beach’s Northwood Village.
The Discover Series completes the circle of arts education that the Center for Creative Education provides: arts-integrated curriculum, arts-enhanced curriculum and art as curriculum. They have long been linking arts and academics in their “LEAP” program, in which a CCE teaching artist and a classroom teacher collaborate to teach the content of art and another subject. Their after-school program, “CADRE”, uses art as a “hook” to reinforce classroom studies. Now CCE’s Discover Series will offer instruction in “art for art’s sake”, allowing third graders to explore a range of art forms and decide what sparks their creativity.
For information and registration forms for CCE’s Discover Series, visit the Center for Creative Education’s website at cceflorida.org or call at 561.805.9927.
2) Music for the Mind Presents…
Stuart School of Music
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 7pm
Harriet Himmel Theater in CityPlace
This is a year of celebration! The Stuart School of Music has been invited for the 13th year to present a concert for the Music for the Mind concert series. The concert will feature honor students of faculty members Susan Joyce—acclaimed Juilliard concert pianist and Doctorate from U. of Miami; William Borovina—graduate of Manhattan School of Music and noted baritone; Lynn Haynes—pianist and alumna of Univ. of Miami of Ohio; Tom Servinsky—Indiana Univ. of Pa., illustrious clarinetist and conductor of the Treasure Coast Youth Symphony; Luanne Dwyer—pianist and graduate of Wellesley College; Cynthia Hinkelman—graduate of Ohio Wesleyan Univ. and distinguished violinist; Laura Mozena—renowned violist and graduate of Northern Arizona Univ.; and Cynthia Kessler—graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic Univ., pianist and Martin County Arts Council mARTies Outstanding Performing Artist.
The Stuart School of Music has had the extraordinary honor of having five first-place winners in the prestigious Palm Beach Post Pathfinder Awards over the past ten years! These young students were recognized for their impressive and exceptional achievements in academic and musical accomplishments at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. In addition, the school has been honored to have three remarkable students receive mARTies awards for “Outstanding Student Performing Artist” from the Arts Council of Martin County. Furthermore, dozens of Stuart School of Music students have been featured on the popular and celebrated WQCS-FM “Young Musicians Spotlight.”
The Music for the Mind Concert Series is held on the third Tuesday of every month at The Harriet Himmel Theater in CityPlace. Each concert presents a different musical group from local area schools and community organizations. The Stuart School of Music is the only group outside of Palm Beach County invited to participate in this concert series. All proceeds are used to benefit music education and for music scholarships.
Since its inception in 2002, the Music for the Mind concerts series has given over 9,000 young musicians the opportunity to perform and has raised over $350,000 to help keep music in our schools and community.
$10 for Adults / $5 for Children
For more info go to:
Tickets also available at the door
or by calling 772-221-8000
3) Page Turner Adventures: STEAM Trunk Circus
Presented by Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach at Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach
Saturday, June 21, 2014
2 – 3 PM
There’s magic, juggling, unicycling and huge physical comedy in this multi-media extravaganza! The STEAM Trunk Circus will get kids EXCITED about Science,
Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. For all ages.
4) Plan Ahead… The musicals are coming!
“Kravis on Broadway” 2014 – 2015 has some terrific shows:
Cinderella, The Book of Mormon, Flashdance the Musical, Anything Goes, Memphis and Pippin
For more information and a preview video see:
My favorites are Cinderella (for the kids), The Book of Mormon (NOT for the kids) and Pippin. Subscriptions for all six Kravis On Broadway productions are $174 to $492 and will go on sale to the general public midsummer. For more information about purchasing a subscription to Kravis On Broadway, contact the Kravis Center box office at (561) 832-7469 or (800) 572-8471.
5) … And now for a shameless plug:
The young boy who had to learn chess to “think ahead” has written a book. Former Around Wellington Teen Talk columnist, Evan Baumel, has just released Broken Mast: Changing Course for the Capitalist Ship in paperback on Amazon and as an ebook on Kindle, Nook and iBooks. Broken Mast urges us to think ahead about the economic challenges our country faces and presents suggested solutions on how to solve them.