I want to make sure I teach my son the word no. I don't want him to hear an incessant string of nos coming from me. But what I do want him to understand is that there are boundaries that people can establish between themselves and others in the world, and when he encounters them, they should be respected. I want him to feel that he has the power and the authority to set his own boundaries. I want him to feel empowered and autonomous. I wish someone had taught this to me when I was a child.
In art, I have a nearly opposite attitude. I want to hear nothing but yeses. I want hear myself saying yes. I want to hear ACTORS and DESIGNERS saying yes. Yes, to embrace the givens and spring from them, yes, to throw oneself into a rehearsal, into the world of the play, into whatever circumstances or scenarios I pitch at them, into each other, yes, to every preposterous, unlikely, and just maybe brilliant idea that arises during the process. An attitude of can-do and find-a-way and we-will-make-this-happen is what makes beautiful collaborative art happen.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
I get frustrated with modern etiquette. Times change, and our tools change, but there are some old habits I would like to hold on to. One, in particular, is the act of keeping an engagement. If I make a date with someone, I'm trying to make more effort to commit in advance to a set day and time, and more importantly, to notate it somewhere to remind me. Amazing! Then I turn down any other offers or invitations for that time. I think this is something we could all try to do in general. I understand that we all have those friends or family members with whom we get together frequently, and so we keep things loose and flexible. It's when I start finding myself unable to see the people I care about as often as I like that such commitments become so important. I think we should be teaching our children this lesson as well. If they accept an invitation, it should be honored, not cancelled if a "better offer" comes along. This is a way we can practice respect for others and develop character. Similarly, if a child takes on a class or an activity that they find they do not enjoy, the honorable thing to do is fulfill their commitment; just see it through to the end. Everyone is free to make a different choice next time.