Yesterday, as I was trapped at home with a sick child, I came across two blog posts that really home for me. One was a beautiful piece about don’t judge someone because you have no idea what might be going on in their lives to make things appear as they do. The other was about a letter a mom wrote to her son about learning how to be compassionate. This particular one went onto explain how the woman told her son that each person he would meet are a gift from God and have been put in our lives for a reason and it got me to thinking. The mother told her child to treat each one he met as that gift from God.
Sometimes, not all the time,we come across kids who just don’t fit in. They might sit alone at the lunch table or they might not play with anyone at recess. They appear to their peers to be awkward, weird or broken. Now we don’t know if they have some medical condition, have lost a loved one, don’t get along with their parents or are simply longing for someone to pay attention to them, but on the outside they appear broken. We just don’t know their story, but there is a place for them in theatre. I know that without a doubt. Like that mother told her son, if that makes your heart hurt, that’s a good thing because that hurt is compassion. Theatre is a way to turn that broken kid into something beautiful. By offering a child to be in an environment with supportive friends, that don’t judge is the first step for many of these kids. Being able to open up and share their story whether it be through song, dance, acting or by confiding in a new found group of friends, it teaches the whole group a valuable lesson. It teaches these kids the value of compassion. I can’t think of a more beautiful gift to learn at any age.
That compassion we feel may compel us to befriend the underdog, stand up for them if they are being teased or just provide a listening ear to that someone.We all have a story to tell. That story will make us a stronger actor with depth and it also can be used to help someone else. Theatre isn’t about competing, or having a winner or a loser. It provides a unique environment in which kids can feel safe and supported to have their story be heard. I think that’s pretty cool. Each one of the kids that enter through our doors, have their own story to tell and we can’t wait to listen. To us, these kids are gifts to one another and us and we think they are not broken, but beautiful.