My two youngest children discovered stop motion filmmaking in the same way they discovered volcanos, dolphins, making pies, cartooning, and weaving. It burst upon them in an unstoppable force which had to be carried out right at that very moment and was to continue until such time that the passion ebbed and the excitement flow ran out of steam.
While I, exhausted mother, went fetal in their wake, mumbling incoherently as I rocked back and forth amongst bits of discarded lighting, torn backdrops, and plush and Lego film stars awaiting their directions.
We try so hard- don’t we?
Look, I absolutely love passion. I have a passion for passion, as it were. But let’s face it, these gifted gems fell from gifted trees, if trees grew gems that is, and even as parents we are still just as prone to overexcitabilities of our own. We all get just as jazzed about the new passion as they do, but we do it on older knees and with the same load of wash going through the washer three times.
Still, the last thing I want to do is stifle that passion.
Stifling the gift of passion is truly and literally the last thing I would do on this earth. And since I’m reasonably sure their next passion won’t be who can proceed the calmest through a Monday or 1001 ways to solve problems without jumping up and down on mom and dad’s bed at 5:00 a.m., I will have to deal with the laundry later and find every moment, every insatiable and enchanting moment, as an absolute gift to my soul.
I remind myself that exhaustion can be repaired in a night but the loss of passion for learning may never be restored.
Even when it’s not so easy.
Stop motion filmmaking was easy and fun. There were not too many tears and all in all the day was a success. But there are times they can’t ebb that passion in a day.
When my daughter decided she would learn to ride without training wheels, she left the house thrilled at the prospect and then stormed back into the house in tears twenty minutes later when her ability was not up to par with her imagination.
I held her while she cried. I said, “Not all things happen in a day.” Which brought her to the next grief level: anger. It’s time to teach mom all of the things that DO happen in a day! (I share because I know you have all been there! But oh, the worrisome stares from the public we could collectively claim!)
Gifted kids are passionate about everything and they expect everything to flow at the same rate.
Take, for example, writing. If I had a quarter for every writing woe I have felt or stories of writing woes friends have shared with me, I’d have… well, if you’ve read my blog you know I’ll never count them; suffice it to say, I’d have a lot of quarters.
Kids are passionate about writing. They are passionate about stories and thoughts and words and learning letters and a particular pencil and lines and pictures and the view outside their window and…. the list goes on and on. Putting that all together and producing the work necessary at the moment and in that moment? That’s another thing altogether.
This journey can be exhausting or it can be exhilarating. It’s really all about perspective. If we refuse the passion for today’s obsession, we risk removing the passion for tomorrow’s lesson. Worse, we might add anxiety to passion that can’t be helped and can’t be controlled.
I say, let them go with their passion, whether it is filmmaking or rubber ducky racing, and try to understand how they feel when they just can’t get it quick enough and they have to cry. They will need to learn how to function through that passion, but we can be there to listen, to enjoy, to support, and to set up the camera. After all, your child will learn to ride a bike, hold a pencil, write a story, and maybe even put together a short stop motion film. It might not happen in a day, most things don’t, but it will happen.
All of this sounds great on paper—but I am just like you, a parent who is just trying her best and finding myself at times unable to come up with the right answer. For every blissful moment, there is a counter moment during which I run out of the room screaming, crying, and pulling out my hair. And that might have been a good day!
I just remind myself as often as possible that an object in motion stays that way unless… you know the rest. I don’t want to be that external object which causes them to. Stop.
(So long as I’m going there…. oh, to be an object at rest!)