Un­usual ad­vice for moms

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Entertainment - El­iz­a­beth Cran

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.

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