Tomorrow is a big day in the Sutton household. Yes, I’ve got to pay my O2 bill and I’ll probably stop at Costa after the school run … but I don’t mean that, as exciting as that is. Dexter is doing a trombone solo in front of the whole year!
And what’s even more significant, is that he actually asked the Head of Music if he could do it.
Now, those of you who ‘know’ Dexter via my blog, you may think he’s a really confident boy and, for the most part, he is. But like most children, a lot of that is bluff. What I mean is, he’s had self belief issues ever since he was little, although I’m not really sure where they stem from. I can’t imagine seeing his Mum & Dad in a tumultuous (for want of a better word) relationship did much for his self esteem and thankfully, since I ended the relationship, I’ve seen Dexter flourish.
Every parents evening I would hear his teachers tell me that academically he’s brilliant … but he just doesn’t believe in himself, and if he did, the sky would be the limit. However, I have seen his confidence improve, especially over the last two years, culminating in this musical request.
Thursday is a charity Coffee Morning at school, and he asked if I’d be free to come along – and whilst I’m freelancing, I’m able to go to events like this, which we both love. It was only after I agreed that he said nonchalantly, “Oh by the way, I’m performing at the coffee morning.” We hadn’t even discussed the possibility of him doing anything so I was really surprised. He’d asked with no prompting from anyone.
He’s nervous. Of course, he’s nervous – I’d probably be worried if he wasn’t, but he’s also a little excited (I think.) He’s absolutely delighted I’ll be there and wanted my reassurance that he’d do OK. “You will be awesome,” I told him. I also relayed a story about how his big brother did something similar when he was at ‘big school’ and one parent’s evening he took his electric guitar along and just sat on the stage and played all the songs he’d learnt in the lessons we’d paid for him to have. (I don’t think he’s played since mind you!)
But his brother had set this example for him and I don’t even think either of them realise what an impact things like this can have on you in the long term. It’s a benchmark. It’s ‘that thing’ you can look back on when you’re feeling shy or awkward, and think to yourself, “Well I got up on stage, in front of the whole year/school, and played my trombone to everyone. On my own! So this (whatever it is) will be easy.”
So if you ever get the opportunity to let your child play an instrument, whatever it is (I’m thankful, however, he’s not playing the drums anymore) … then totally go for it! I know it won’t always sound good – believe me, I know … but the confidence playing an instrument gives a child is remarkable.
I hope Thursday goes well – I will, of course, be proud of him no matter what. But this is a massive deal for both of us. A sign he’s maturing, a sign he’s grown exponentially in confidence and a sign that he’s dreaming big.
I always teach my kids to DREAM BIG!
It would be lovely if you could just leave him a short message of good luck so that I can show him 🙂 and I’d also love to know if any of your children play an instrument and if you too have seen their confidence improve.
PS. The photo above is quite old – probably taken 2 years ago, but it’s one of my absolute favourites! I think it really captures Dexter to a T.