Wednesday, June 24, 2015

contemporary parable

There was a man who only used Twitter to comment on politics. This same man only used e-mail to communicate with his employers. The same man only used texting to schedule dinner dates with his wife. The same man only used Facebook to invite people to his son’s basketball games. He carried a cell phone, only for emergency.
His followers on Twitter considered him a hard-headed politician who never listened to others. His employers considered him an efficient employee who lacked social skills. His wife always said yes to his dinner invitations, knowing how romantic he was across the table. The son appreciated his dad because his basketball games were always well attended. The paramedics administered mouth to mouth because they considered him a life worth saving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

internal focus




Hindsight revealed a truth—I use to be a snob. I denied this as a teenager. All humans eventually acknowledge personal arrogance. It took me longer to recognize my conceit because I strove to be the best—even the most humble.

This egotistical girl greedily accepted piles of awards (best singer, best performer, most dedicated…). Once grateful and proud of such accolades, now I wish I would have shared those awards with my classmates. I had a loud voice and a passionate heart, which forced the spotlight my way too often. I hurt those who only craved a little attention. Instead of focusing on the community’s well-being, I focused on personal accomplishments.

Truthfully, I earned my accolades. It took hard work. Nevertheless, I wish I could have given other people the chance for that solo. I should have mourned with the students who never got to perform because their voices were subpar. I wish I could have acknowledged that my success robbed others of success. My self-absorption spilled out into church activities and work as well.

I found true humility, thanks to Taylor Theatre’s program. Taylor Theatre is exceptional at sustaining and valuing community. Everyone is essential: whether on stage, working backstage, or sitting in the audience. Campus values promote a more courteous approach to life and theatre.

Tracy Manning, the director of Taylor Theatre, introduced me to practical tools to nurture a more benevolent attitude. Tools that helped me see the other. Her exercises forced me to see a performance as a collection of various people on an even playing field. There are no stars; there are only players.

One approach is called “soft focus”. One of my favorite theatre approaches, I recommend it for any organization. Individuals get out of their own heads so they can see the other players. Overacting draws attention away from the more essential parts of the play. Soft focus minimizes internal distractions. Helping to increase awareness of the bigger picture, soft focus minimizes internal focus. The youtube video above showcases these techniques. I suggest watching the whole video and trying the exercises with a group of people.

Theatre and show choir can have the reputations of producing heartless divas: power-hungry people stepping on anyone to get that next part. I am not that self-absorbed, but I have to fight the temptation to turn into such a person. Good theatre can promote better communication and cultivate gracious relationships. Snobs should be barred from the stage. It is possible to be successful and other-centered; you only need acknowledge your personal desire for fame and then allow others to reach with you.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

professional

I am challenging myself to approach blog writing with more criticism and professionalism. Taylor University's Professional Writing program emphasizes the need to approach writing with sophistication and excellence. The current generation undermines a well-written sentence. Amateur writers pay less attention to sentence structure and rely more on riveting content. To professionalize my author's voice, I must not nurture such sloppy writing. This blog will serve as a catalyst for that goal. I will keep my original blog for casual writing pursuits and use this blog for more professional writing pursuits.