This is the Story of Caleb the Lobster.
At the start of our story, Caleb was a relatively normal 10-year-old boy with a passion for life. In the summer of 2022, that passion extended to an interest in performance art. He expressed an interest in auditioning for a local junior theater production of SpongeBob the Musical.
Caleb knew that many kids his age would be trying out for roles in the musical, and many of them would have experience in theater, experience he did not have.
But Caleb was not a shy boy, and he was always willing to try something new.
Auditioning for a play, a musical, was indeed something new.
Caleb’s family encouraged him to audition, but, being a strong support group, they wanted him to know what might happen when he did. They told him he:
- might get a featured role.
- might get cast as an ensemble member (someone who does not have many, or any lines, but is on stage and performing, like in a crowd scene).
- might not get selected to perform.
An intermission from our story: Handling expectations
We take a break from our story to introduce the topic of encouraging children to pursue new interests. Most parents jump when their child expresses an interest in some new activity, even when they know that it might add to an already busy after-school schedule.
While there are parents who point their children toward one goal – success at a specific sport, exceptional grades, excelling at a musical instrument – many child psychologists approve of letting children experience multiple participation activities. In time, they will find the activity that best suits their personality, and which they feel they have the best chance to enjoy and succeed.
However, the journey to find a passion hits roadblocks. Few people are able to perform any particular task well the first time they try. It is the role of parents, guardians and teachers to let children know that initial failure is to be expected, and that the joy
of learning how to do something well is learning how to do it better every time you try.
Two famous stories come to mind that children will appreciate.
Show them a light bulb, and tell them about Thomas Edison, the man who invented it. Then tell that child that Edison tried 10,000 times to get the light bulb to work before he succeeded. He famously said “I have not failed 10,000 times – I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
When it comes to auditioning for a play or trying out for a sports team, remind them that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, did not make his high school varsity basketball team the first time he tried out. He did not give up. He tried out the next year, and the rest truly is history.
In Caleb’s case, it took a bit of courage to audition for the first time. To his credit, he understood he might not get selected. He was ready for that possibility, with a plan for what he would do if he was turned down.
And now, back to our story
When rehearsals begin for the local production of SpongeBob the Musical in September, Caleb will be there. He was selected to play the role of Larry the Lobster!
Caleb benefits from a spirit of adventure, and a willingness to put himself in situations where he is not truly comfortable. He also benefits from a support group, in family and friends, who encourage him to try anything, while explaining that the trying matters just as much as the succeeding.