I’m so excited to feature advice from author Stasia Ward Kehoe today.
Stasia Ward Kehoe grew up dancing and acting on New England stages. She
then moved to Washington, DC, and later New York, choreographing everything
from theatrical productions to magic acts. She now lives with her husband
and four sons in the Pacific Northwest. Her debut novel, AUDITION, will be published by Viking/Penguin on October 13, 2011.
Take it away Stasia:
Never be afraid to try something new.
One of the tricky things about being told you’re good at something is the way it can take over who you are and how you spend your time. Perhaps you’re a talented writer or a star soccer player. Perhaps you’ve been playing the violin since you were a toddler. Your peers admire you. Adults compliment you. It feels good. Comfortable. I’m not suggesting that you abandon any of that. But I would encourage you to keep your mind open to other things you may want to try–even things at which you think you might not be as good. Why? First, you may just suprise yourself and discover a new talent. Second, you may learn something that makes you better at the things you already do well. For me, the most important reason to try new things is that it gives you a special kind of courage which broadens your view of the world and the contribution you can make to it.
A few examples…
I remember when my son was in sixth grade. He was a solid succer player but wanted to try playing lacrosse. Still, he was worried because many of his peers had been playing the sport for years. He was afraid he would not be able to catch up. It took a great deal of encouragement but eventually his dad and I got him to sign up for the team. Two years later, he is a first-string player and lacrosse has become his favorite sport. And I think the lesson that getting a later start than other kids doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try–or that sticking with the tried and true is not the only road to success–helped give him the courage to sign up for the debate team next year.
Since 2003, I have choreographed an annual musical for the local elementary school. This year was special. The play was Beauty and the Beast and the lead was given to a girl who had never acted before though her voice was magical. In rehearsal, Rachel’s anxious face made it clear she was outside her comfort zone. During tech week, her mom said she barely ate or slept. On opening night, Rachel stepped hesitantly onto the stage to sing her first song. The audience went wild. The applause came to the young star like a giant hug. Her shoulders relaxed. Her eyes brightened. The show came to life for Rachel and all of us. As she sang to the dying beast in the final scene, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. As I wiped my tears, I thought what a gift it was that Rachel had decided to try musical theatre. Not because of the wonderful performance she gave the audience, but because of the gift she gave herself: the knowledge that trying something new is worth the worry. I can only imagine the other adventures she will have, not only in theatre but in life, because of the courage she found inside herself onstage.
From changing careers to moving to a new city to taking up a new hobby, I am certain we can all think of examples to support the advice to never be afraid to try something new. I’ll close here with the story of the first time I, a longtime dancer, auditioned for an acting role. Check it out here. I think this experience was an important step in my journey to becoming a writer.
Wow! I love this advice. I think this series has just been amazing, and I see a new page featuring all of the advice in the future – don’t you?
Want to share your own advice for kids? Leave it in the comments or snatch the jpg and do your own post. I’ll be doing giveaways on Fridays throughout the month, giving various book swag prizes. So leave a comment and let me know if you do your own post!
For more great advice for kids, be sure to check out 101 Success Secrets for Kids – featuring advice from me and hundreds of kids about school, friends, family and life. The book features tip sheets, quizzes, and fun crafts all designed to help kids embrace life and live to their potential. Available from Prufrock Press, Amazon and booksellers everywhere.
Come back later this week for more launch party fun!
And don’t forget about my exclusive FB contest! Post your advice on my FB Author Page and I’ll be randomly drawing names to win bookmarks, book swag, signed copies of my books, other YA arcs and more. FUN FUN FUN!!!