Monday, March 5, 2012

Attention, Please!

I was explaining to my youngest last week that one of my drama students has a reading disability, so I was sending her scenes to her by email so she could be familiar with them before our read-through on Thursday. "I wish I had a learning disability," she said. Why in the world, I asked? "So I can get the extra attention."

Laugh Out Loud!! Anyone who knows her will join me in that laughter. Yes, she's an attention junkie. At least she knows it. One of my unarticulated goals for my daughters in life has been "Know thyself and own thyself" -- faults and all. I'm glad she recognizes this trait in herself and admits to it.

Now, what to do about it, if there is anything to do about it. I mean, is it really wrong for her to want to be the center of attention? Is it a fault? Is it a sin? It's certainly a quality that society scorns . . . or is it? Celebrities get all sorts of public reinforcement for their antics to get attention. It seems we like to think we have disdain for those who crave the spotlight, but in reality, we enjoy them -- as long as they entertain us.

And as long as they don't drag others down in their wake, directly or indirectly. Someone like a Lindsay Lohan who seems to only be destroying herself with her antics . . . she's actually hurting a lot of little girls who look up to her as well. This we scorn. But can longing for the world's eye have a positive spin?

It has occurred to me before that my youngest, with her particular personality bent, might be especially well-suited for one noble profession: teaching. Consider a teacher -- she NEEDS to be the center of attention in her classroom. She NEEDS to be able to pull the spotlight on her. And it's not for her own glory -- it's for the sake of her students who need to absorb what she has to offer them. A teacher is many things, but one thing an engaging teacher usually is, to some degree, is a performer.

It's always a struggle, as a parent, to determine what qualities in your child are to be discouraged and what are to be nurtured, pruned, and shaped. We tend to fall into default mode on that front and do as has been done to us. But this is one area, perhaps, where discernment is required. My daughter has craved the spotlight since birth . . . God must have a good purpose in that.

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