Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sometimes bribing works

Rohan has been struggling with wanting to go to his acting class.
It is 10 -12:30 on Saturdays.

He is, by far, the youngest there. The other students sport cell phones and a different language that Rohan is not privy to yet.

"I don't fit in Mom".

So I have been questioning if I made the right decision encouraging and insisting he partake in this class. The opportunity is unbelievable but that does not make it Right.

Rohan had a homework assignment three weeks ago to take a private, memorable moment and make it into something he could share on stage. This in itself was 8 years of life experience does not always allow for powerful, private moments.

Sadly we have had some though. With Dad's help, asking pertinent questions, Rohan wrote a "scene" about the day we wrote and burned prayers for his Gigi (great-grandmother).

Here is the script:
(his idea: he begins laying down, like we are on a bed talking... he turns to talk to me)

~Mom I had an idea

~I really miss Gigi and I really want to talk to her

~Max said maybe we could write down the stuff we wanted to tell her. And
then, we could burn the notes with a candle and the smoke would take our thoughts
to Gigi in heaven. (pause)

~Like heaven mail.

~We found this candle at Gigi's house. Can you light it and I'll go get some paper?

(Rohan walks across stage to get the paper and pretending to write he reads each aloud:)

1. Things are gonna change, now that you're gone.

2. But you'll be with us, in our hearts.

3. I know we're not going to your house anymore for Halloween.... or Christmas

4. I hope you have really good food now and that you get to see all the friends you missed.

5. I hope you aren't in anymore pain, because you were before.

6. I miss you very much....I love you.

(he pretends to light the paper and watches the smoke go to up to heaven)

He worked hard on this at home. He did an amazing job. 
He DID NOT want to perform it though, in front of his class.
 He was intimidated and nervous and was not going to do it unless Michael, his teacher, asked him too.

Here is where the bride came in.... Rohan LOVES Halloween....a whole, spooky lot!
I found the coolest Halloween nutcrackers at Target last week. I am a sucker for things I KNOW my kids will love.
I told him that if he volunteered on Saturday I would give him a super cool Halloween gift.. otherwise he would get it later at Christmas.

Well, it worked. He volunteered. 
When he was finished his scene
an older girl asked him, "How old are you?" 

 ( the class is for 11-18 year olds)

She put her hands over her mouth in disbelief.

Rohan's teacher, Michael, said "Now you know why Rohan is here."

He also asked Rohan to make this little scene into a five minute one man show for the
 class finale. 

I could not have been prouder of Rohan. I cannot imagine how awkward it must be to have no other "kids" your age to hang out with for 2 1/2 hours and to have emotionally challenging assignments that would challenge any age.

He was brave. 
He was proud of himself 
and his anxiety about the class melted away.

He said, "Now they know me a little better."

It might have been the Bribe, or his decision that "today I am going to do it"...
but whatever it was.. Rohan proved to himself that hard things can bring joy and 
can make you feel really strong.

He will perform this piece on December 10th at NC Stage with the other 10 students selected for this acting intensive.

~I have to give a BIG kudos to Max also who is reading Cat in the Hat now. This is a harder Suess, if you don't remember. Max likes to push himself. He is a go getter and a determined little soul. He is my snuggle bug. 
(I love this photo... he is, unfortunately, cute when he is angry)

This fall air has energized us and has also made us want to snuggle more. 
What a lovely combination!


  1. What cool kids you have Andrea. I hope to someday meet them face to face. Dr. Seuss is a great and challenging read - good for Max. And what a great experience Rohan is having with his acting class - he sounds pretty darned amazing.

    Kelly S. Murray

  2. this is a great post. i can imagine the anxiety he had, but he was able to put his emotions into a performance... how wonderful! you are right... it was one of those things that teach you that hard things can bring joy and make you strong. this is a powerful lesson to learn. what a great mom you are!

  3. Thanks so much ,Kelly and Cali, for your wonderful words. They mean a lot.

  4. Thanks for sharing this Andrea...I love the idea of burning the notes to someone who has past. Kind of like a burning bowl or arrow ceremony but a little more direct. I may see if Syd would like to do this for Papa Will.
    So very impressed by Rohan and his sharing in front of the "big" kids. Look forward to see him perform sometime!

  5. That is pretty great!Jen

  6. Andrea, we seem to have such parallel parenting experiences! Dr. Seuss was huge in our house, funny I just got out The Thinks you can Think to read again last week, it brought back a lot of memories. As far as acting goes, I worked for the Charlotte Rep when Wesley was young and I was lucky enough to be able to pick her up at school and bring her to the theater with me. Rehearsals were afternoon/ evenings and I had to be there as the prop designer to get whatever was needed. Wesley learned a lot in those years. We had a lot of gay people in the company and as actors and she learned tolerance for a different life style, there was lots of profanity and she learned not to like it and to this day never uses it! She was pulled in a lot during rehearsals to be an audience member or a stand in and she was exposed to so many great things. She is now looking at film schools for college and wants to be a playwright/screen writer. I have to believe all those years being around actors influenced this. It was a very mature environment for her, but I talked to her a lot and made sure she was always understanding what was going on in the very adult atmosphere. I think Rohan is going to be just fine!! I love his choice in readings, I remember that story, very nice!

  7. Rohan, and you, I'm impressed whole big a lot. I'll be there at the NC stage.


Your words inspire me to do and be more. So do your thoughts but I just can't read them yet! ;)