Children’s Theatre auditions for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe were Tuesday night, and they brought out in me every ounce of self-conscious insecurity that I’ve been toting around since my own childhood. My children, Jake and Hayley, decided to both stick their necks out for this one, a play with around 25 parts for which 84 (!) children tried out. Those 84 included the amazing Sydney, currently playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Eric (playing Oz himself), and Kyle, who is both the mayor of Munchkinland and the president of the William Henry Middle School Student Council. Stiff competition, yes?
But that’s just the thing. I don’t want to look at the other children as competition for mine. I hated myself for thinking, “They wouldn’t choose a kid who’s swaying like that,” or “I can’t understand a word she’s saying,” or “Is that kid serious with that British accent—show off.” Petty, petty nonsense. I can see now how stage mothers are born. That seed of comparison creeps in, and before you know it, you’re taking your kid out of 4th grade and homeschooling her in the car on the way to acting lessons in NYC just so she can come out on top.
Despite telling myself to cool it on audition night, I found the day after a little challenging. Will he get a part, I wondered. Will she? What if he does and she doesn’t? What if she does and he doesn’t? What if neither of them do and both are so devastated and hateful toward the theatre that they swear it off forever, squandering what could be the two greatest stage talents of the 21st century? What then?
When I came to my senses, I realized this: if I am a believer in a God of the universe who listens to our prayers and orchestrates things for our good and His glory, then why am I worried about this? So I prayed, “God, please let the children receive (or not receive) whatever role is best for them…even if it means their disappointment…or some other child’s disappointment. All I want is what’s best for them.” And then I waited for the call.
So Jake (age 11) starts rehearsals tonight for his role as a member of the evil army. He was excited, and Hayley (age 9, and without a role) was excited for him. We all learned a lesson, I think. Jake learned that it’s worth taking a risk. Hayley learned that not getting a part isn’t the end of the world. And Craig and I learned that one disappointment (or even more than one) does not a loser make.
It only took us 40 years on that last one, but here we are, and we’re thankful for it.