I Call Him Jake

I recall his first time on stage. He was about 8 years old, white blonde hair and a shy smile. It was a Christmas play and Jake had four lines as the lead shepherd.


Jake had the dramatic role of leading his fellow sheep herders off to Bethlehem to see the Christ child after the angels appeared to them on the hillside. He was flawless on opening night. The audience thought Jake’s enormous smile was part of his character’s role as he rounded the manger and knelt by the Baby Cry doll in the straw. It looked as though he was really seeing Jesus for the first time ever.

His natural sunny disposition made me look like a brilliant director, to say the least.

Jake’s next role was more involved. He had more lines and very short solo. As timid as his natural temperament presented itself, once on stage, Jake could hide behind his stage character, and actually become a different kid. This is the beauty of acting.

Jake seemed to love the musical theatre venue. He went on to be in several plays through Jr. High and High School, especially Christmas plays.

It was not until he was well into his third year of college that he stopped me one day to thank me for the opportunity for being on stage all those years. He thanked me especially for the opportunity when he was in third grade–his shepherd role. I couldn’t believe he remembered it.

Sadly, I was to learn that it was that night, after his first performance that he received a compliment from his dad on any of his accomplishments–before or since. He was so grateful for that one moment in his life.

Stories like this continue to be my motivation to put kids on stage–to give each one the opportunity for a moment in the spotlight, where they find their God-given talent and experience well deserved and much needed applause.

Question: Do you recall a time that you felt the spotlight and thrill of applause? Tell us about it! I love to read your comments.

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