This week the whole family filed into a pew of the Presbyterian church that runs the kiddo’s preschool for her final Christmas recital as a preschooler — oh, how the time flies. It was an emotional roller coaster for me; I vacillated between pride and a bitter-sweetness that brought tears to my eyes and uncontrollable giggles at the adorably animated performers. I began to wonder if the manner in which each child performed on stage predicted something about his or her personality or how he or she will approach the world in the future. There were some very specific types of singers on stage:
The Deer in the Headlights: These are usually the younger children on the stage who are nervous and/or shy and stare unblinkingly at a chosen spot in the audience rather than sing. If onstage behavior predicts future behavior, these children will grow up to be fantastic at staring contests and well qualified for any profession that requires them to keep their eyes open for a long period of time (graveyard shifts, perhaps), but you probably won’t want to call on them in emergency situations.
The Lip-Syncers: Audible singing doesn’t emerge from the mouths of these children, but they do a hell of a job faking it. Someday these children will be members of a drama department and will be great at faking a cold to call in sick to work.
The Angry Singers: These children are singing but they’re pissed about it and it shows. They’d rather be anywhere but on that stage but mom or dad probably put some pressure on them to learn their songs and perform just so. This child will get into an Ivy League school one day and grudgingly attend.
The Aggressive Singers. Not to be mistaken for the angry singers, the aggressive singers are happy to be on stage, but they’ve confused shouting for singing. They shout-sing “Jingle Bells” with a ferocity that will infect you with the Christmas spirit whether you like it or not. Aggressive singers are a hazard to their co-singers as their bell-jingling arm motions are quite reckless. These children will enjoy contact sports and careers in finance or litigation.
The I Feel the Music Singers. Though the performance is not choreographed, that doesn’t stop these children from dancing throughout the entire routine as if their rendition of “Away in a Manger” is so jazzy their feet move of their own volition. Dance moves rarely match the tempo of the song. My child falls into this category, and she saw fit to do John Travolta-esque finger points throughout her song about shepherds. These children will be liberal arts majors and will someday organize a sit-in or hunger strike of some kind.
The Take a Dive Singers. These children fall off the stage, taking a few of their classmates with them, out of sheer enthusiasm. There was one such singer at my daughter’s recital, and bless her heart, she jumped right back up and continued singing. These children are the ones who will launch right into projects and give it their all. You want these people on your team; nothing keeps them down.
The All In Singers: These kids are in it to win it. They’ve memorized every word, are singing on key and have no idea what stage fright is. Someday you’ll see them on the 2035 version of “American Idol” or “The Voice.”
I feel confident in the future leaders of our country.