I spent the other day at a 4th grade play about the thirteen original colonies… it was delicious. It wasn’t just the nostalgia of sitting in the little auditorium where my daughter performed many moons ago (dressed as the sun singing about her gasses while wearing radiant sunglasses). It was pure emotional goodness watching kids give 100% of themselves, belting it out in full Ben Franklin garb and Native American (Target brand rain) boots. Wearing wigs meant for adults, they looked like living bobble heads, it was insanely perfect. Inspiring lines about the sale of Manhattan from the three Native American singers… “we shook their hand, they took our land”… this was no old school American history play. There was a game show (fyi, Idaho was NOT one of the original thirteen colonies), Martha Washington set George straight a few times (and had the majority of the narrating lines… go Martha). One child broke into an English accent every time he had his Red Coat costume on, another gave a long monologue without managing to pronounce the letter r… it was joyous. There were kids of all abilities sharing a stage, singing, reciting, laughing, and dancing, they were equals. Our school district seems unique in its belief in the value of the performing arts. Starting in Kindergarten every child is on stage performing at least once a year. This exposure to speaking and singing in front of large audiences is gold… they are comfortable in front of a group. They can project their voices and hold the spotlight. They have made mistakes and forgotten lines… and survived. A few years ago I posted a video of my son singing a solo in his 1st grade play, belting his little heart out, lisp and all. His comment on the post: “wow, back then I had so few teeth and so much confidence”. I just got a text from him, he is taking an improv class in LA. Once again he is getting out of his comfort zone, he will perform, he will be part of a troupe, he will create. May we all recapture the confidence we had at 6. Swoon.