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A Must Read-If your child is showing an inclination towards taking up a not-so-conventional career.

Doctor, Lawyer…. Dancer, Sportsperson?

It is common practice in our country to proclaim that if a child in their early years is an eloquent speaker or is proficient in mathematics, the best-suited career for him or her is that of a lawyer or an engineer. In all of this, what of the children who are skilled performers or are adept athletes. These children are made to fit the mould of conventional careers by their teachers and more importantly their parents. 

Their daily routine usually consists of flawed time distribution. A child who is destined to grow up and be a dancer attends school for 5 hours, attends tuition classes for 2 hours and then gives only 2 hours to their dance training. This is a typical student’s daily routine. The imbalance between the two elements, academics and dance/ sports is visible. For a child who is less interested in academics and more interested in dance or sports, such a schedule will prove to be adverse as they will neither excel in dance due to a lack of time, nor in academics due to a lack of interest. In such a situation it becomes the parents’ job to bridge the gap and be sure when doing so, to give the child proper direction.

School’s Extra-Curriculars Are Not Enough.

Modern-day schools have employed many measures to make sure that their educational environment panders to all sorts of students. Even still, for children who are destined for careers in the field of performing arts or sports, they are ill-suited to the environment of conventional schooling. This is for a few reasons.

1. Regular schools’ focus is academics centric. 

Suppose a child attends school for 5 hours. The PE (physical education) period or the Dance period is only for an hour. Moreover, these subjects do not recur daily, they are limited to once or twice a week. For a child who requires professional training in these subjects, this is highly deficient. 

2. Even during the PE or dance periods, the curricula have many loopholes. 

What that means is that the teaching of these subjects in schools lacks a concrete curriculum which is detrimental to the progression of a child who would want to pursue these as a career. 

3. Things like dance, acting and sports are considered strictly as ‘extra-curriculars’ 

When students start giving increasing amounts of their time to these activities, they are pressured by their teachers to give time to their academics. In such an environment, the job of the parents becomes crucial as it becomes their responsibility to create a conducive learning environment for their children. 

Parents’ Role-

When your child displays the want to become a professional in a field like dance or sports, there are a few key things to keep in mind- 

1. Being realistic with academic expectations. 

Academics hold their undeniable importance in a child’s development. In saying that a child who will grow up to be a dancer will have to go the extra mile with their dance training. Balancing both all of the time is practically not possible.

2. Unconventional careers require early investments. 

For a career with an academic base, major monetary investments from the parents’ side come into play at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Similarly in careers like dance or a sports-based career, early investments are required to build a strong base. To build the said base, investments need to be made towards employing the best teachers and coaches way before the child passes their tenth or twelfth grade.

4. With early investments comes an early start of the career. 

With careers in performing arts or sports, the child’s professional life begins much before parents predicate (by the age of 19-20). While this may seem odd, it is the way to go. Additionally, the children will require their parents support majorly as they may not be fully prepared, mentally to embark on a professional journey at such a young age. This means that the parents do not only play a crucial role in building the base, but also in the early years of the career too.

5. Abandon the mindset of ‘finish 10th grade then do as you please.’

 In our country grade, 10 is given a lot of importance, as it should be, being a crucial board year. Nevertheless, parents must keep in mind that the primary and secondary grades are pivotal years for body & mind training. This is why when intensive training at these ages is neglected, the child may suffer and fall short in reaching their goal of being a successful professional in the field of their choosing. 

The Reality Check-

A profession like dance, acting or one based in sports is called unconventional for a reason. Certain undeniable risks come with taking up a profession of this nature. Having said that, as a parent, we know that setting up our children for a career that they are built for goes a long way in ensuring that they grow up to be happy, fulfilled individuals who love their job.

By swarapatel

Program Director at Agile Kids.
Co-Founder Rhythmus HappyFeet, Bombay Ballet Company, Bloomville Early Learning Centre.
Head of Orchids International Schools Performing Art Division from 2017 - 19 with 35 schools under her purview.
MBA, Dance educationalist, Member of the International Dance Council, Dance Therapist certified BY CDI France and CMTAI, Kinesthetic Teaching Expert & a performing artist.
Trained at Danceworx in Jazz and Ballet.
Was an official contestant in DID super mom (A reality dance show on ZeeTV)

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