Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Run Away And Join The Circus

Really, it's possible! Do you have a kid who is a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Maybe you have that kid who is funny and quirky. You think his/her unique take on life is original and a breath of fresh air, but to the kids in the middle or high school where they spend most of their time, he/she is just plain weird. Last week I was watching a wonderful documentary on Circus Smirkus, a circus troupe whose members are all teens. During the summers, this group of quirky, funny teens travel all over New England performing traditional cirucusy acts as jugglers, clowns, acrobats, and aerialists. I actually remember taking my daughter, 25 years ago, to a perfomance they gave on the cape. They were amazing. The film really lets the audiance get to know these teens. They are honest and open about the challenges of being a teen who is a "little different." These kids have found their "family." A place where they are celebrated and welcomed for their unique passions and personalities. All teens deserve this kind of acceptance and love, but unfortunately it may not happen in their community.

Maybe you have that teen, that is uninvolved with sports, or plays, or music, or any of the activities that your school/community has to offer. Maybe they don't feel, that for reasons they don't even understand, that they just don't fit in with the kids who participate in those activities.  It just doesn't feel right. And frustrating to you, when you ask the million dollar question: "why don't you try out for the .......? You would be so good at it". You get a groan, a moan, and a  "leave me alone!" I talked with a parent recently who lives in a small town. She and her husband felt this would be a wonderful place to raise their children. The problem with small towns is for young children they are wonderfully, nurturing, safe places to grow. But as teenagers, that sweet smallness can become suffocating and limiting. Their daughter had outgrown the kids she had grown up with, and because the school is so small it just doesn't offer much in the way for teens searching for something to do that makes them feel good.

Cirkus Smirkus is not her thing, but her parents  need to help her to find "that thing" that lights her up from the inside out. She may need to leave home to find it, but that's OK. The world can be a safe and inviting place, sometimes more inviting than their own hometown. If you have a teen who seems lost and left out, help them to find their Cirkus Smirkus! Just ask the kids who did.


  1. Thanks so much for your kinds words about my documentary CIRCUS DREAMS! I was a teacher for many years and in making the film, I did want to celebrate those kids who are a little different. I noticed that middle school and high school seemed challenging for students who didn't slot easily into the more traditional roles - and I thought Circus Smirkus offered a wonderful example of how all kids can find an amazing spot to shine. I so appreciate your comments!

    1. Signe
      I am so glad you found this blog, how did you? I absolutely loved your movie and I hope that people who read my blog will go and watch your movie

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