I just got home from the final choir concert of my son Isaac’s high school career. It was incredible. He has been performing since fifth grade, and this was the best show of his I have ever seen. And as much as there is to say about the importance of the arts and how music must stay in every school, I want to talk instead about the freshmen choir.
The freshmen choir performed first tonight. They did a medley of songs from The Lion King, which was awesome.
About twelve kids had solos throughout the performance, and you could easily tell who the soloists were going to be even before they began. You could tell because they were the kids who looked like they had eaten bad fish. They had that “please don’t let me die on stage” look. Sheer terror.
But as each student finished the solo, the audience applauded, and a huge smile engulfed each of their faces. It was like Christmas and a birthday and a snow day wrapped into one. It was pure joy. It was pride for a job well done. It was the exhilaration of knowing they had the courage to face their fears and come out safe on the other side.
It was fascinating. The transformation was immediate and clear and it was so cool to watch. And more fascinating was watching the face of the choir teacher beaming with pride as each student belted out his or her part.
Every child has a solo. Tonight, the solos were literal, singing alone on stage in front of a crowd.
But whether they are in the choir or not, every child has a solo. For some it is on the football field. For some it’s on the track. For some it is in the art room. For some it is in math class. For some it is at church. It’s grooming horses. It’s painting. It’s playing guitar. It’s cooking. It’s visiting the elderly. It’s making friends. It’s leading a group. It’s writing a poem. It’s programming a computer. It’s something—ANYTHING—where a kid finds a passion that makes him feel successful and at home.
Every child has a solo, a talent, a gift. Every child has something they were put on earth to do. But so many kids spend their days not knowing what their solo is.
It’s every adult’s responsibility to help them find it.
It’s our job to encourage kids to take risks. To expose them to opportunities and experiences. To pick them up when they are down. To give them the hug or word or kick in the butt at the right time.
Every child has a solo. Imagine the choir the world will have when each child finds his part.