“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”
Languages Unlimited has a partnership with the municipal library in Torres Vedras. We started this partnership in 2014 and it involves us offering a story-telling session for children of various ages on a Saturday afternoon every few months. It is free and it always involves an activity. The kids who do show up for it always seem to enjoy both the book(s) and the activities.
The problem is that consistently there is low attendance for these events. It is usually just a handful or two who attend these free story-telling sessions…if we are lucky. Personally, this has bothered me despite the fact that I should be quite used to it. The reality is this type of public response (or lack thereof) is quite consistent with some of the projects (always at a very low cost) that Languages Unlimited tried to launch over the years in our former A-Dos-Cunhados location. Cultural and educational events are far too under-attended in this area of the country.
This saddens me. When I first moved to the area, I thought that it was just a lack of opportunities to see and/or participate in culturally and/or educationally stimulating events. Soon enough I realized that was not the case when I searched out and found plenty of activities, events, shows, etc for my young daughter and for the whole family. For example, Teatro Cine of Torres Vedras) has loads of things going on. Some of the better-known acts are undoubtedly received with a full or semi-full house. However, when it comes to lesser-known artists, performers, and animators you rarely get a third of the audience space filled. And when it is activities for children, the numbers typically drop even more. So why is that?
I am sure it is a variety of factors that play a part but, as far as parents not taking advantage of what is being offered to young people, I think that a lot of it comes down to not taking advantage of the opportunity to expose one’s child to what this city has to offer. It’s true that parents are overworked and over-tired in this overly capitalistic society. It’s true that we seem to have less and less quality time with our children and the tendency to let schools, grandparents, and extra-curricular activities do the better part of raising our children is at an all-time high. However, we have to rise to the occasion…rise to the opportunities that we have before us. Because when it comes down to it, an opportunity is only an opportunity if it is taken advantage of. As Mark Twain once said, “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”