Unusual advice for moms
You do not have to be a mother or a grandparent or keen on ballet for any reason to enjoy Another ‘pointe’ of View by P.J. Parsons (Dreamcatcher, Saint John, @18.95).
You simply need to be interested in the development of an unusual boy up to the age of 18 — and in that of his mother. (His father develops, too, but it’s his mother who writes the story.)
Ian Parsons was born in Halifax to a 46-year-old family doctor and his 35-year-old professor/ writer wife. They were serious about giving Ian the best possible upbringing, but thought in terms of his becoming a lawyer or a doctor one day.
However, at the age of one he sat enthralled for 15 minutes — at least three times as long as a one-year-old is “supposed” to be able to concentrate for — watching a program of classical music played by the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra.
After some thought and hesitation, his parents decided to follow this up. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Just the same, there were a few blind alleys, such as violin lessons at three and a half and numerous twists and turns on the road to an apprenticeship with the National Ballet of Canada with which the book ends.
Parsons herself goes through quite a few learning experiences as she studies what goes on in the ballet world, realizing she and her husband will never be part of it. At the end, she sums up what she’s learned: (Our children) are not really ours. It is our privilege to care for them, to love them unconditionally and to nurture them into adulthood. but they — and we — all belong to the world.”
Several themes in this book give it wide relevance. How the parents of a gifted child — and they’re all gifted — react to his or her path in life and develop in consequence and how the child develops in relation to his parents.
What does the path of a classical dancer from three to 18 look like? How does learning, in general, progress? (Certainly not in a straight line.)
It also looks at teachers of varying abilities and differing attitudes and various ways for parents to deal with them.
In short, Another ‘pointe’ of View can be read as a cheerful encouraging memoir and, simultaneously, an informal, but accurate, handbook. This book should circulate all across Canada — and further if at all possible.