That Moment When Adult Decisions Break A Kid’s Spirit

braedenpuppetsLast week, I wrote about Braeden auditioning for his school talent show with a friend and being selected to not only perform but to emcee. In case you missed it…he wrote a script, chose his music and made themed costumes for his puppets as well as himself. He also recruited a friend, requiring him to sign a contract because this time last year, he didn’t even try on the grounds that his other friends backed out. Did I mention that the entire thing was themed after Star Wars?!

Braeden wanted to perform so bad and after working for 3 weeks creating his three minute show, his redemption was seeing that he and his friend were selected to emcee in addition to performing…so he thought!

For the last week, Braeden’s classroom teacher has let him and his friend rehearse during class so that they could be ready. It was THAT serious! Yesterday, the performance order was posted and Braeden and his friend were not listed as performers…emcees only.

He wondered how that could be when he was told that they were performing too. Braeden’s music teacher, the one responsible for the school talent show…kind of skipped around the issue, according to Braeden, telling him that they needed to cut their act for timing.

We would later find out that she said something to the tune of this…

“Their costume changes between scenes were too sloppy and she would give them feedback for next year.”

In other words, they were never performing and emceeing was basically a consolation prize…which we could have dealt with had he not been told that he was performing too. Heck, given a choice, the puppet maker/actor/screenwriter would have totally chosen to perform.

If the only issue was a sloppy costume change, that can be fixed.

Braeden’s reaction was to ask his mother to notify all family members not to attend. There was silence…disappointment…hurt. Clearly, we’ll still be there to cheer him on regardless but I can only imagine how he feels…heck I feel it and I’m still 3 hours away from him.

Today, before his classroom teacher could advocate for him further, he said these words…

“Don’t say anything. If we were really sloppy, I would not want to embarrass myself. It’s ok.”

Dear Music teacher, I get that you basically have the role of making sure that kids who perform don’t embarrass themselves…thus, the cuts. However, your job is to also make sure that kids who are passionate about what they do aren’t unconsciously hurt because for a moment, they weren’t perfect. This wasn’t the right message here. You have to know that.

With that said, I know that this confusion was not caused intentionally and I don’t feel ill will for this music teacher. I do, though, despise a system that doesn’t adapt to the students for which it was created.

Bottom line is that this entire process of auditioning to showcase a talent to your peers, as a 4th-6th grader, on the last day of school is odd. Even more odd are the lengths taken to exclude kids under the lens of “perfection”. This entire process has existed there for years. Sadly, Braeden and his friend were dealt a bit of a raw deal…just like dozens of kids before them.

It could’ve been any teacher, really….that’s how miscommunication works.

The Frustration is REAL

Before anyone fills my comments with messages about all the kids that auditioned and didn’t make it or how sometimes kids don’t “win” or any message regarding the problem with awards,trophies…etc


Also, this isn’t a case of Braeden not “being chosen” and his family being upset. This is a case where a kid who is completely and totally passionate about his craft believed that he would have the opportunity to share it and learning that it would not be the case. The way that this has played out sucks.

…also learning that he can’t perform because he wasn’t absolutely perfect in a COSTUME CHANGE TRANSITION…for a 3 minute show, that he basically wrote, casted, directed, costumed…produced.

I still can’t with this.

Thankfully, Braeden’s team of teachers have vowed to bring all of their classes together so that Braeden and his friend can perform for their team.

…Because that’s what you do when you KNOW that a student’s entire heart and soul is drenched in his craft.

There’s a lesson in this for him but perhaps we are all learning FROM him. As devastated as he is, he still rehearsed to emcee the event. In his heart, I’m sure that he is hoping that somehow she will let them do puppets.

Regardless, his spirit and amazing soul is allowing him to press forward.

I just hope that he won’t lose his desire to entertain…all because of a costume change.


Comments 4

  1. I would LOVE for Braeden to meet Dennis Lee. Or, maybe he has already? I applaud his teacher for providing him the opportunity to perform.

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  2. I am so proud of him for carrying on to emcee!
    I really hate that he was led to believe that he would be able to do both. Praying for him & for Mom.

  3. Something doesn’t make sense here.

    You’re too polite to note this, but this is more than about “sloppy” costume changes, and the use of the word “sloppy” is telling.


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