“Talent” Night

Does the title give me away? Or possibly my rant over on Facebook? Apparently, I’m not done ranting because I’m blogging about it now.

Chelsea is a small town. There aren’t THAT many kids in Eleanor’s school, yet there are 41 acts in the “Talent” Show? It was only 5th and 6th graders, too, not the whole conglomerate of elementary schools. So here’s the thing: I get it. It’s great for kiddos to get up on that stage and work out their confidence issues. It’s good for them to see each other perform. It’s nice for them to work together. And it’s a (marginally) good idea for getting the community together so we can all sing the national anthem and pat ourselves on the back and say here we are and here are our kids. But all of those things combined still don’t make it worth it. I could stand twenty acts at less than 2 minutes apiece. But what I’d love to see–what I’d actually enjoy–(and what I think would actually benefit the kids) is about 10 – 12 (of the best) acts at about 5 minutes apiece.

I’ve blogged before on the importance of kids hearing no. So, I’ll refrain from repetition, but what about talent?

I remember one thing about the talent show my fifth grade year. Ali Wood. She played the piano–the Entertainer. I was blown away. I wanted to be her so bad in that moment. I wanted to be great at something and make other people feel the WOW that I was feeling. Not with a piano, but the inspiration hit me hard. THAT was talent. She had worked hard at learning that; there was no doubt in my mind. And it was beautiful. I wonder if the kids in that audience last night even had the chance to feel that. I was bored before I got there. Our school is even getting away from calling the thing a talent show. I think this year the program said “Variety” Show. (Maybe it has been that all along I’ve been suffering from wishful thinking, I’m not sure) Variety Show is a more truthful term, but a more pathetic one. Who cares about variety? Seriously. Talent is worth my time and my kids’ time. Variety is bullshit.

Published by jody sparks

Jody Sparks Mugele spent her first career in marketing writing and leading teams of writers and editors. After her son came out as transgender in 2015, she dedicated herself to advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. For two years, she led the Indianapolis regional chapter of PFLAG, a nationally renowned LGBTQ+ advocacy group. She has given many conference talks about parenting trans kids, healthcare in the trans community, and suicidality among LGBTQ+ youth. And with GenderNexus, an Indianapolis-based advocacy organization, she created programming and led support groups to work with parents to help their children through all aspects of gender transition. She recently moved to Northeast Georgia where she is excited to develop opportunities to continue to strongly and proudly advocate for LGBTQ+ members of our society. She also LOVES kitschy Christmas crafting!

7 thoughts on ““Talent” Night

  1. Love the post and agree with it, but I think it overlooks the American Idol factor where even badness that gets notice is considered a good thing. Witness all of the imbeciles who think they can sing, torture us all with their badness, and get some quick minutes of fame.

    Your school is prepping the next generation of American Idols.

    1. Thanks Devon. I did do an American Idol comparison in the post I linked to. But I did not think about how we are giving the imbeciles their few minutes of fame. The real problem, I think, is that they don’t realize (many of them) that they are imbeciles–and that’s what the school system is prepping them for. Bad.

  2. I could not agree with you MORE.

    My middle school talent show (late 70s) was a huge deal and had well over 100 acts try out every year; about 30 made it into the show — and that 30 were pretty awesome. (I played The Entertainer in 7th grade, btw! But some 8th grade kid with the most MASSIVE long-fingered hands you’ve ever seen blew all other pianists out of the water with his all-octave performance. I’m not still bitter. 33 years later. Honest.)

    I love your honesty. LOVE. IT. Thank you!!!

  3. My kids’ elementary school does a program, where all the kids sing together and the good ones can drown out the bad ones. I think that’s a good middle ground. They all get to work on performance anxiety, but don’t get the false impression that, individually, this is where their talent lies.

    I had a group member in college who really truly believed he was an “excellent writer.” Um, no.

    Making a career in the arts is tough enough for the ultra-talented. Let’s get the rest of them started on their non-performance talents a little earlier, and maybe they will figure out they can’t sing in time to become a doctor instead.

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