Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

26 April 2010

Life lessons from High School Musical

I have a long-standing distaste for musicals. As a kid I didn't like the quarterly appointment my Mom and sister made to usurp the TV so that they could watch the Sound of Music. I "LOLed" before it was an acronym at the thought of the West Side Story gangs singing and dancing their way across the street to knife-fight each other.

In high school, I fell in love with Drama and acting. It was the one class I legitimately looked forward to. My teacher was not a fan of musicals either and commonly ranted about it being bastardized acting where poppy-hooks took the place of legitimate character interaction. He bemoaned the theater world where Andrew Lloyd Weber was deified and Harold Pinter was a double jeopardy answer that only the cultural elite could identify.

One day, he swallow his pride and took us to see an original Canadian musical presentation of Napoleon at the Pantages Theatre in Toronto. It was everything I had expected and more. Lovely setting... great production... awful acting... a terrible script... and goofy songs with Napoleon singing his way through battles. The story was cutoff at the knees and you cared nothing about the characters in the end. My scorn for the musical was amplified that day. I love plays, play-writes, and live theater and I wish there was more around with depth... and I wish I was in them!

Yesterday though, my wife had a meeting in the afternoon, so I took my 3 kids SOLO to The St. Jacobs Country Playhouse (an really nice little theater) to see High School Musical... a musical. 3 kids and one parent not used to such endeavors is always logistically challenging when it comes to pee emergencies but I somehow juggled it so no pants were soiled and no little girls were scarred for life by urinal pass-bys. I loved being in a live theater atmosphere and so did my kids.

While High School Musical certainly didn't surprise or challenge me... it mattered very little. I watched my kids eyes widen as the curtain flew open. I watched them marvel at the sets, the lights, and the spectacle of the dancing. I sat beside Brianna (my 3 year old) because I expected her to be the one to lose attention first, but she made it through most of the show... diverting her attention once every 3 minutes to look at me and say, "I love you daddy".

Mellisa O'Neil (The 3rd Canadian Idol winner) sang beautifully in this charming show. It was wonderful to see this young girl, who seems like a genuinely lovely person, released to do what she loves doing. Afterward, she hugged my girls and told them she heard them giggling in the front row. They glowed. I glowed. It was moving... and it happened at a musical.

When people ask if I speak French... the first thing I say is "qui a volé la dinde?". It means, "who has stolen the turkey?" It means nothing... I just think it's funny.

But the second thing I say is one of the only French phrases I remember from school. It's "chacun ses goûts". I means "to each his own". What it kinda also means is grace. Letting people like what they like and like them liking it.

I'm not saying that my kids will subsequently be musical nuts as opposed to the thought-through written word... but I knew they'd like it, so the right thing to do is to like them liking it... and like it along for their benefit. One of the main reasons we had kids was to make sure that our lives weren't based around us. It's not becoming of an adult to be selfish and make decisions based on what tickles OUR fancy. It's actually quite unhealthy. It's unproductive. And it doesn't lead others into their freedom/destiny because sometimes people need encouragement to dream where THEIR passion is.

It's not Shakespeare... but the point of High School Musical is a good one. Be who you are... thrive in it... and come alongside others in their "thing" even if it's not yours.

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