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Raising rock stars

June 18, 2009 - LLee Janssen
Son Dana recently returned from five weeks abroad, mostly in Europe but with the last week in Japan. While in Japan he met up with two of his childhood friends with whom he grew up in Williamsport and went to Williamsport schools. There Kevin and Adam are now, a 13-hour time difference away from their hometown, teaching Japanese school children to speak English. And despite that time difference, the far-flung young ones have managed to stay in close contact. Odd, isn’t it, how small the world really has become, particularly for our children who embrace the technology that has connected all corners of this Earth unlike anything else from any previous generation. Odd, too, for kids from Williamsport to travel the globe, playing their music and being able to support themselves. Or so their collective parents may have feared a few years back when they set off on this venture, guitars and drums packed in a rickety van, determined to follow their passions. Dana and another young man from Billtown, Seth Olinsky, are making their mark on the avant world along with Miles Seaton, who grew up on the West Coast. What isn’t odd is the support that they have gotten here in their hometown, where parents love their children as fiercely as do parents in any other place. But what else makes this particular hometown special is that we have a school district that has long provided an education with an emphasis on the arts for those who are bright in a creative context. And we have a town full of people who truly value and celebrate the arts and who are willing to help young people explore and tap into talents that, in another place, may go unnoticed or, worse, not cherished. Whether it was the first elementary school concert, a jazz-band extravaganza in the middle and high school grades, or a show at popular New York City venue, the sights and sounds that come with raising a future rock star have been among the most amazing moments of my life. This I wish for every parent of a creative youngster, along with some encouragement. Don’t be afraid to dream; college can be put on hold to test the waters and will still be there later. Root them on; our offspring should be the number-one hometeam. Better to do that than to ignore your child’s passion and steer him or her away from a lifetime of joy and happiness.


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