It seems almost universal that no matter what the culture, we love to celebrate the successes of artists, performers and sportsmen. We have been to several school performances this school year and there is no doubt that there is a lot of talent – yet when is their talent good enough that we should encourage and cultivate it? There is also no doubt that talent by itself is not enough for commercial or even limited artistic success. Do we sow the seeds of desire in these young men and women to strike out into the artistic world when we clap and shout 'Bravo!' or 'Author, author!'? And if so, are we responsible for helping them find their way whatever that may be – or should we tamp down our enthusiasm and clap politely and whisper 'Don't quit your day job'.
For while the returns to college may be an expensive gamble, so is the returns to artistic and sporting endeavors. Just how much should we as parents encourage any kind of artistic or sporting career or be responsible for their chosen paths?