In January, my son came home and announced he wanted to try for a speaking part in the upcoming first-grade performance.
I nodded and then asked, “you know you will be performing in front of people?”
“Of course,” he replied, looking at me like that was the silliest question he had ever heard.
My mind instantly flashed back to last year’s kinder performance. All five kindergarten classes stood before their parents and sang songs of the rainbow. And there stood Jase looking like a deer caught in the headlights. He barely sang or did any of the accompanying hand/arm movements. He clearly had a case of stage fright and that was with everyone standing together on the stage.
This year’s performance will be a short program entitled “BUGZ.” I don’t know how many kids have speaking parts but Jase got the part of bug number 22 which is a firefly. Those who don’t have a speaking part will be part of the choir.
Rehearsals started three weeks ago, and the performance is next week. They will perform for the fifth graders in the morning and then for the parents in the evening.
I worry he will suffer stage fright again, or he will only speak in a whisper. He has never been a very loud kid, and he has always been shy around adults. He didn’t even speak to his preschool teacher until the last month of school. As he has gotten older, he has done better with talking to adults but often is shy in a group. And when he is nervous, he tends to stutter a little.
I know there will be other students who mess up or only whisper their lines, but I hope Jase doesn’t run into any of those problems. I hope he can deliver his lines with confidence and have a good experience because I know that these first experiences can make an impact on how he feels and how he does at future performances.
I am not comfortable speaking before a large group. I will not be the best one to give him advice, and I certainly don’t want to discourage him or transfer any of my fears onto him. In this case, I will probably have to let my husband do any pep talks on how to handle stage fright. As an attorney, he is used to speaking in front of judges and juries and often gives speeches at legal conferences.
So I will have to wait and see how Jase does next week. Right now, he is just excited about having a speaking part. No matter what happens, I will be proud of him.