Letting Our Kids be Experts

Meg's dream came true yesterday when she hosted a beauty makeover party for her 12th birthday.  She did a make up tutorial and makeover for eight of her friends.  It took over two hours to do every girl and her back ached by the end, but there was nothing she would rather have done for her own birthday party.

Afterwards, we went to their school grounds and did a photo shoot in the setting sun.  All nine preteen girls, giggling and feeling beautiful.  Meg was the beauty guru for the day, and sharing her passion with her friends made her happier than receiving any gifts (not that she minded the presents as well, of course!).

There's something in all of us that desires to contribute to society, all the better if we are an expert at something.  My very wise friend Norman once told me that he lets his teenage son Brett teach him how to play the guitar even though Norm already knows how, because, for one, Brett had been taking some high-quality lessons and had surpassed his dad in his ability, and also because, as Norm said with fatherly pride, "It's great to let our kids be experts."

I do recall showing my mom some figure skating moves at the ice rink in New York when I was in the fourth grade.  Initially, my parents simply didn't want me and my sisters to be wall-huggers at the rink, so they signed us up for group lessons.  Well, I really took to skating.  I advanced from level to level, until one day when she was picking me up, I was able to show off some jumps and spins as she watched nervously from the side.  "Wow, you've gotten good," exclaimed my mother as she asked me how to do those moves. You'd think I had just won the gold at the winter Olympics!

My son, like many boys, really got into Legos as a youngster.  At first I was giving him directions, but he quickly moved on to more and more difficult pieces until he was working on some humongous space craft with about a million pieces.  Whoever designs them must be completely nuts, but somehow the pieces all came together in his capable 10-year old hands.  "Mom, so you put this thing here and snap it that way.  Oh, and can you help me find this piece?  I'll show you where it goes."  I usually found an excuse to slither out of there soon thereafter, but David could have worked with his son all night.  Honestly, I was not all that interested in Legos, but I liked being his pupil.  I know it made Josh feel proud.

So back to Meg.  She has spent the latter half of her 12 long years studying beauty -- hair, nails, and makeup -- to where she is a bona fide guru today.  Thanks to YouTube, she has watched tons of videos by other beauty experts, and she has been practicing filming herself giving tutorials on our video camera set up on a tripod in her room.  Her first segment is going to be "Putting on Perfect Playground Makeup for Middle School."  Move over, Michelle Phan!

She has invested most of her birthday and Christmas moneys in beauty supplies: shadows, cheeks, mascara, lipstick, pencils, etc.  She enjoys putting them on herself to the extent that her own face is a canvas upon which she practices her art.  She usually takes them off before leaving the house.  I love letting her apply shadows on my eyes.  "Mom, your eyelids are so loose and wiggle with my brush," she complains as she compares her taut skin to my middle-aged one.  I'm trying to help her learn to work with all types of customers, of which she shall have many in the very near future.

Don't we all need to feel we contribute to society?  I even have a task assigned to our dog, Sushi: clean-up patrol.  Whenever we drop something while cooking, he hurries over for his duty.

Do your kids have some expertise they share with you and the society?  Let me know!

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