Have you been paying attention to the talent of our youth lately? Normally we hear nothing but the problems of youth, such as bad manners and attitudes, foul mouths, sex and drugs, cheating, stealing and deceit, car wrecks, and a general disregard of any form of authority; true rebels without a cause. This is why it was so refreshing to recently see some talented young people burst onto the entertainment scene, such as "Il Volo," a trio of Italian pop-opera teenage singers, with incredible voices transcending their age. Their operatic mastery is such that you cannot help recognizing them as the legitimate heirs apparent to the The Three Tenors.
In Japan, there was the movie "Swing Girls" which was produced just a few years ago to critical acclaim. In the movie, a group of students, mostly female, form a jazz band specializing in swing music. The young actors actually played the instruments in the film and gave excellent renditions of such big band classics as "In the Mood," "Moonlight Serenade," and "Sing, Sing, Sing."
Then there is Jackie Evancho, an eleven year old phenomenon who has mastered operatic and pop classics. Jackie was brought to national attention by the show, "America's Got Talent." When you watch her perform, you are struck not only by her remarkable voice, but by her poise, and ability to sing Italian, French, and other difficult pieces flawlessly. I recently watched her PBS special where she held her own in a special duet with Barbra Streisand ("Somewhere"), which is no easy task.
There are, of course, many others such as Melissa Venema, the 13 year old Dutch trumpet player who played under Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. In addition to these young entertainers, there are many new writers and artists who are producing an impressive body of work.
The talent of these young people is so profound, they often bring adults to tears. They are celebrated not just because of their specific talent, but because adults recognize the hard work and discipline required to master their skills, something we tend to believe young people are incapable of doing anymore. When we see it played out in front of us, we become dumbstruck. Adults simply cannot believe young people can achieve such a level of excellence and are, therefore, enraptured by their skills.
Obviously, not everyone can be entertainment "phenoms" like those mentioned, but this doesn't mean adults cannot appreciate other talents of youth, such as in science, mathematics, medicine, mechanics, languages, military service, etc. all of which are important to the world. The difference is that someone discovered the hidden talents of the young artists, cultivated their skills through encouragement, and taught them a sense of work ethic, all of which we tend to overlook or take for granted by parents and school counselors. Whereas children often look for guidance from their elders, they frequently do not get it and are left to wander aimlessly on their own with little ambition. Imagine the tragic loss it would be if the "phenoms" had not received the proper guidance or learned their sense of work ethic. The same is true for any young life, it is a loss of unimaginable proportions. The future of our culture resides within our youth and, as such, it behooves us to invest the proper effort to help each child find his/her way.
In the High School I graduated from years ago, there was geat emphasis on going to college. There was no mention of the military or trade school. As should be obvious, college is not for everyone which is why I feel it is necessary we start studying the interests of our children at an earlier age and help guide them in the proper path, maybe it leads them to college, and then again, maybe it does not. Regardless, waiting until our children are 18 years old to guide them in their walk through life is simply too late.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.