Matt Archbold’s Talented, Funny Kids

I really love thew way Matt Archbold writes about his kids, but this piece on a school talent show, and what he learned from it is a hilarious,insightful and touching keeper that really resonated with me, for all the nights I’ve lain away regretting a too-hasty answer, and for all the times — like the day pictured above — that I let a kid surprise me:

She dropped to her knees in the living room, put her hands on her head, and moaned an anguished yawp as if her visions of grammar school glory were foiled yet again. We all stood back impressed that a five year old could conjure such deep wellsprings of regret given that she’d only heard about the talent show on the way home in the van.

“What were you going to do as your talent anyway?” asked the 11 year old to distract her because her first instinct is to always make things better.

When we received no response I asked the same question. Slowly, she released her head and stared up at me incredulously as if I’d just admitted that I didn’t know her at all. “Dance, Dad,” she said. “Dance.”


Now, mind you, this particular child wore a Batman mask for four years. This past year has been spent swinging styrofoam swords at her brother. I’ve never seen her dance except out of the way of some invisible missile hurled by an imaginary nemesis. But the way she was acting you’d think she shuffle-stepped out of the womb wearing leg warmers and glitter.

She suddenly stood up and without any music began jumping, twirling, and waving wildly as if someone were shooting at her feet. The kids and I watched her for about twenty seconds enjoying the show and then after about twenty more seconds we started wondering if we’d have to taze her to get her to stop.

When she did finally stop because she’d made herself dizzy she didn’t stop and look at us for applause or approval, she simply walked past us and asked her seven year old brother to play in the front room.

“That was great,” called out the eleven year old to her.

As my son followed her, I asked him what talent he’d planned for the talent show.

“Cartwheel,” he said and walked out with his sister.

A Hat Tip to New Advent for this one. Take the time to read the rest, and let it surprise you. Whether you’re a parent or someone who wonders what sort of things ran through your own parent’s minds, sometimes, you’ll be glad you did.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Victor

    (((“Cartwheel,” he said and walked out with his sister.)))

    What’s wrong with trying a Cartwheel now and then?


  • Peggy m

    I had an Austrian friend whose son, aged 8, announced he wanted to sing with the Vienna Boys Choir. This was a surprise, seeing how he had not shown much interest in music and no one had ever heard him sing. He assured her that he practiced in his room and was pretty good. He nagged her so that took him to an audition, thinking he would learn humility. He was called back for a second audition. The mother asked how this could be, and the answer was that her son was, in fact, pretty good but obviously untrained. Anyway, he made the final cut and sang with the Vienna Boys Choir Until his voice broke. She said he had a beautiful treble voice. You never know.

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  • Brian

    Parents should always think of two words and use them as a guide for encouraging their children in their dreams … Jackie Evancho

  • Kort

    My son has been the only stand up comedian to perform at his school’s talent show. Ever. His teacher was surprised but told him to go for it; I’m not sure they knew what to do with him. He practiced so hard that, when the microphone cut out, I thought I was going to cry. He just came closer to the front of the stage and did his routine louder with barely a pause. He’s memorizing Bill Cosby’s Noah routine for this year and I couldn’t be prouder.