So yesterday morning I found myself in the local Magistrate’s court. The clerk called the court to order and said the standard “all rise..etc, etc”. As we were given permission to take our seats my youngest threw his hands in the air, shouted out a big yay and applauded. To him as a mass we had just performed a beautiful synchronised choreographed movement and he was impressed.
Now he is a particular young fella. I have performed with him on me since he was 7 days old and only stopped because he got old enough to pull the microphone his way to have his turn. Morning usually starts with some music in “the dancing room” and not many days go by when he doesn’t witness one of his parents (or brothers) in a conventional performance situation. He is becoming aware that when you are audience you observe and you only ‘participate’ when there is a break or a conclusion.
I often am an observer. Not so much in the relatively small town that I live in but when I travel I am very quiet and reserved and I watch and sometimes I feel like applauding when I witness a beautifully constructed interaction or calling out ‘BOO’ if I am less than pleased with how a particular scene is playing out. I don’t though. Most of us don’t. I have occasionally subtly thanked an adolescent for offering a seat (out of ear-shot of mates of COURSE) and I have asked someone if they were alright after something upsetting has occurred but that’s been the extent of it.
What if we behaved as if we were on show? As if the choice of words and how we used them were important to the outcome of each moment. Oh it’s easy for me to say because for me “the stage” is a place of safety where I understand the parameters I am bound by. It’s my comfort zone.
Let me ask it a different way.
What if every time we interact with someone we do it in a way that shows that we care what a young person watching might think?
Let’s aim for applause 🙂