DEAR JANN: I have an 11-year-old daughter whose dream is to be a famous singer. I often tell her that she shouldn't pin all of her hopes on being famous. There are a few other talented young singers that sing a lot in our small city; their parents are constantly promoting them. My daughter is very jealous, but I just can't bring myself to ask people if my kid can sing at their venues or events. She often tells me that I don't believe in her, and maybe that is true. I feel that at 11 years old, she's not in any danger of missing the boat; if she has enough talent, it should still be there when she's older. She has told me that for her, there is nothing like singing in front of a large audience and that she never wants to come off the stage. It really bothers me that she feels this way. It seems like these are the wrong reasons to sing, but then personally, I would never seek that kind of attention. I guess my question is this: should I be doing more for her? RELUCTANT STAGE MOM
Dear Reluctant Stage Mom: I am always concerned when I get letters from readers who have questions about how they can become famous in order to achieve celebrity status. Fame is completely meaningless. It serves no purpose other than to feed itself. If your daughter really wants to be a singer, then that is admirable. It's always good when children take an interest in music. It is such a wonderfully positive thing to be involved in. It can develop young minds in such precious ways. It builds self-esteem, confidence, poise and courage and it strengthens skills in public speaking. Its benefits are endless. Fame, however, is a dangerous pit of nothing. It is the emptiest of all things to strive for in life. If fame is the outcome of hard, honest work, then so be it; otherwise, it's a menace. It's true: very few people make it in the music business. It has taken me 30 years of non-stop travel, tears, toil and temptation to get where I am. There is no magical thing that is going to propel your daughter into the limelight -- only hard, hard work. Fame sucks; talent is obsolete. Persistence and desire are what make any human life truly worthwhile.
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Toronto, Ont., M2N 6S7
Photo courtesy Norbert Mayer