Z časopisu CÉIM 28. 6. 2014
I Wonder – Céim Nr. 1
I Wonder . . .
I´m always wondering of course, but my current train of thought has as yet to reach a conclusion, valid or otherwise. I am now three years attending feiseanna in the city of Dublin: sometimes just as an observer but more often as an organiser in some form or another. My thoughts, on those occasions, often go out to the hundreds of children I have seen competing Sunday after Sunday, week after week every year, and I wonder how many of those children I will see attending Ceilithe in time to come; how many of them will gain an interest in the administrative aspects of Irish dancing; how many of them will leave behind them the mere winning of a medal and put their shoulders to the big wheel, which at the moment is turning almost imperceptibly towards an awareness in the child of what he or she has achieved in being able to perform the mere beginners reel; above all I wonder how many, nay, how few, will have realised by their late teens the cultural value of their achievements.
I´m afraid my conclusions are disappointing me. The lowly medal has gained a status far and away above its penicuniary value in the minds of the children. Even parents are subject to the lure of the piece of E.P.N.S. Often to a ridiculous degree. I could often have cried having seen the disappointment on the faces of unsuccessful children when results are announced. They themselves are sustained only by the anticipation of the next Feis. I myself am not sustained at all, until I can do something about the crux.
I have thought of speaking to the parents but their lack of organisation makes that an almost impossible task. I have spoken to some children and their reply has almost always been „We’re going to —–Feis next week and we might win there“. I have thought of their teachers and here I find most reason for optimism.
The teacher, to me, is the one who can do most to instil in the child the love of the talent he is fostering. The pupil comes at an impressionable age and on the teacher falls the responsibility, when the time comes for his pupil to leave, of having moulded those youthful impressions towards an awareness of the cultural values (enormous in themselves) of Irish dancing. I plead with you, sdear teacher, to first make the child aware of his or her individual self thereby encouraging his self confidence; then an awareness of all the proud heritage he is party to in being Irish – explaining that Irish dancing is a big portion of this same heritage. Encourage the senior dancer to actively foster dancing after he leaves the relative confines of the class and the many methods by which this can be done.
If any one idea of the few outlined above is more important than any other, I would select for special emphasis the awareness of his heritage. If success in this aim is achieved reasonably early in the childs’ teens then the other aspects of everything that is good in a truly informed and will Irish boy or girl, will follow naturally.
I do not expect results „by return of post“. By their nature these qualities appear only very slowly, but given the good will and plenty of work by our teachers, our endeavours can only be fruitful. I look forward to the day when I see the children at Feiseanna treating the prize aspects as of secondary importance only to the demonstration of what it means to each and every one of them to be Irish.
AN ROGAIRE GLAS