I got to spend some time on Thursday soaking up wisdom - from a mom (T) who has home schooled for fifteen years and her daughter (B), the product of said home schooling. B was once K's dance teacher is now starting her second year in a BFA program at Fordham University, in conjunction with Alvin Ailey Dance. I had a ton of questions for them - everything from how to know when to get serious about dance to how dance meshes with home schooling. The overwhelming impression I was left with? Trust my heart.
The vast majority of the information that these kind women shared with me was not surprising:
Q: How do I help A avoid the pitfalls of eating disorders as a dancer?
A: Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. Help her build up her internal confidence for when she's faced with a teacher who wants her to be thinner - because it will happen sooner or later.
Q: How will we know when it's time to get serious about dance?
A: Keep following her lead.
Q: Should I ever give A advice on performing or should I just keep being her cheerleader?
A: Be her cheerleader. Let her teachers do the rest.
I don't have a burning desire to have a daughter who is a dancer. I do have a burning desire to have a daughter who is confident in pursuing her passions. This conversation reminded me that my factual knowledge about A's passion is far less important than my heart knowledge of her as her mother. I have a desire to help her become who she was made to be and that doesn't mean that I need to know the different approaches to teaching classical ballet. I just need to know A and stay in relationship with her to know whether her dance classes are filling her emotional tank or depleting it.