Monday, October 25, 2010

What We Show



In my acting training I did a little "mask work." I learned just enough for the basics and more than enough to know that, as a school of expression, it wasn't for me.

There are entire institutions dedicated to the ancient use of masks in the theatre. The mask usually portrays an iconic emotion and it's in the delicate and refined physical work of an actor that subtle nuance is expressed.

I'm afraid that my face, without a mask, delivers enough (perhaps too much) and I could likely use a mask now and again.

Here's what I've learned about children and the adult face. They read us with the acumen of an FBI profiler.

"Are you super-frustrated or what?" I've had a children ask as the hint of a scowl twisted across my face.

I've learned that on first seeing a kid, it is worth gold for me to radiate joy. Kids see delight and immediately believe it's about them and for them, and they register their own well-being as a result. It should be about them and for them. Why not?

The opposite holds true. I may be undone by something my car did, strolling in mid-frown, and look up to see a child's face — and they will think "What'd I do? Why's she mad at me?"

And that's not fair to them.

I've learned kids endow their parents and guardians with godlike abilities of superheroes. I've noticed kids copying the behaviors of those they lift their chins to view.

I watched a father playing with his three-year-old on a grassy field. For "fun" the dad stuck his foot out to trip the little fellow. The boy tumbled and whimpered, and Dad cuddled him. What's Dad going to say the day his son, for "fun," sticks a foot out to trip another?

Not fair.

Every time I step on the pavement of the school campus, I work overtime to check my mask. Dust it up, give it a polish and wear it fairly.

When I fail, I grab a bucket of reassurance and douse the area fast. Perilous, right?

Yup.


CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
Purpose

I want a life that could help people and do something for that persone. And I would feel so happy I might cry cous I am so happy. And I would even give that persone food if that persone is a homeless or even a persone that kicked out of there hous. I would even give homeless monny and I would give lost kids food and will even help them find ther parents. And will even let the kids sleep in my house.
Lizzie, 4th grade

2 comments:

  1. I love today's post, Mel. A great reminder for me as a mommy - thank you!! meredith

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  2. A reminder for all of us who look kids in the eyes and we all should.

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