Growing up I never thought I was poor until someone said I was. Did I believe them -no, because poverty was associated with no place to call home, no food, no family, no education, no love, and I had them all!
We did not have a television for many years, though everyone else did. My mother was a teacher for elementary school and would help us create our own movies from the books we read. Aesop’s fables, Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Enid Blyton, and many others were the ‘drafts’ for our scripts.
My sisters and I were also encouraged to write original stories, poems and songs based on a theme given a few days before. We made costumes and rehearsed our lines, and every Saturday evening, we had two or three ‘shows’ my three sisters and I. My mother was the director / producer, and though we never performed for anyone else, we critiqued each other, for acting ability, creativity and realism.
This simple act of storytelling theater was a catalyst of dreams, and because we were the actors, we made it happen. Some of our learning’s were;
- Storytelling – communication, getting the audience to believe your words meant appealing to their emotions. Keep it real ( Simplicity was my mother’s mantra)
- The art of verbal and non-verbal communication– Listen with all of you. Full attention ( Let them see even your hands are listening) . Your expressions both facial and body should communicate your story ( Let it be all of you). Pitch is important, to achieve the right effect while ensuring diction and language are clear – enhance the value of the presentation.
- Innovative thinking – If it does not work one way, find another. Challenge the norm. Who says a box must be made from cardboard, it can be fashioned in plastic and propped up (There were no excuses with my mom, think, create, resolve )
- Dreams can be made once created – Dreams are possible but you have to step out of your head ( If you want to achieve anything in life be prepared to work for it – don’t sit and wait for it to happen, make it happen, another favorite from mom)
- You will face criticism deal with it – Listen to criticism you will learn from it. Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will only harm if YOU let it. Through the eyes of another you may find what they see. Their truth is does not have to be yours, but show respect – learn ( She loved that also)
- Finish the script, practice , then act ( You have to finish the story, even when it continues, it must end . Practice your moves, then do a test run.) The end is always the final cut, closing act.
It’s easy to shape children, with the frame you wish them to see through- much harder with adults. Similarly,this is why an orientation is important.
Orientations are perfect for storytelling, setting the stage for what is to come. It gives the company an opportunity to share its story and how they want the next chapters with the new actors (employees) to unfold.The new employee gets a script to work with and the producer (employer) says what he wants and rules to work with. I’ve had quite a few jobs and three orientations, and it was a lot easier to be integrated in the system once this was done. Finish the script so employees can act! Seems we were being given an orientation for life by my mom.
We dream, we create, and then perform actions to achieve our personal goals. There are hundreds of stories I’ve shared through the years, and they all tie back to our four room house while growing up. We were rich with everything we needed but the world did not know that then – quite close to Maslow’s ‘self- actualization’. My creativity, innovative processing and sheer determination to succeed at everything I’ve dreamed about,came from home – my mom. We were encouraged to try again when we fail, never give up, persevere to the end.
I’ll end by saying, we are the sum total of all our experiences at every point in our lives. What makes us different are our choices.
What’s your earliest story? Are you living your dreams?
I’d love to hear from you. You can like, comment, share my fellow wordslayer – lover of communication and the written word! Share your thoughts with me, and the world.