“You hate kids!” That’s what one of my colleagues from my college days said to me when I spoke with them over the weekend. In fact, the conversation went like this,
“So what’s up in your life?”
“I work in the Education department at Lyric Theatre.”
“You work with kids?”
“You mean they’re there every day?”
“Lots of kids?”
“But you hate kids.”
I laughed it off because it’s not that I hate kids, it’s just that I’m not a kid person. To me the students who attend the Academy at Lyric theatre, I don’t consider them kids, I consider them actors, performers, dancers and singers. The greatest reward in working at the Academy is watching them grow into wonderful students of life, they not only learn about their craft but they learn how to be responsible, professional, respectful people. I envy them because when I was younger I never had a place where I could express myself and be creative with other people who had the same interests as me. It makes me proud that we have a place for students to embrace their artistic nature. I love to see them smile when they hit the right note or finally get the next dance step correct even if it’s right outside my office door. I tolerate it because they’re learning and enjoying themselves. Yes, sometimes they do get a bit loud but one stern look or a hearty command of “quiet” and they’re back to being a professional student. I never close my office door to any of them unless I’m in a meeting, I don’t even close it when I’m on the phone because I want them to know that the door is always open to them if they have a problem, a question or even to say hello.
Now, I don’t want anyone to feel disappointed or sad that I’m not a kid person. I’m just not. I’ll never be a parent, it’s a very difficult job and I praise anyone who is a parent. I still don’t know how my mother survived raising four boys and one girl but she did and I think we all turned out pretty good. My life is filled with too many ambitions and dreams that I would never have the time to raise and nurture a child so kudos to the parents who support their children with big dreams of being a performer.
The most ironic thing of working at the Academy for five years is this summer I’ll be playing the villainous Childcatcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for Lyric. Some might say it’s a great way to get all the aggression out on the children. I say, it’s a dream role that I’ve always wanted to do and maybe just maybe there’s just a slight tinge of vengeful fun. Maybe.