After reading my first blog post, a friend and fellow yoga teacher told me I should read Fey’s book because she apparently makes reference to the improv rule of always saying yes as a life guideline. I haven’t gotten that far yet.
The excerpt I want to share though, is the following (she is describing her first kindergarten experience of “meet the teacher night”):
While my parents talked to the teacher, I was sent to a table to do coloring. I was introduced to a Greek boy named Alex whose mom was next in line to meet with the teacher. We colored together in silence. I was so used to being praised and encouraged that when I finished my drawing I held it up to show Alex, who immediately ripped it in half. I didn’t have the language to express my feelings then, but my thoughts were something like “Oh, it’s like that, motherfucker? Got it.” (page 8)
I got a stomach cramp from laughing so hard. I thought of all the situations in which I was working with kids and witnessed interactions exactly like this. Even when they don’t say it, you can see it written on their 5 year old faces. Full expression. As adults, we tend to think we’re doing these kids a favour by intervening and reassuring the victim (girl with the torn drawing and torn ego) and scolding the perpetrator (the kid who just doesn’t give a shit, really). We say weird things like, “that wasn’t very nice”, “would you like it if someone took your drawing and tore it up”, while talking down to the destroyer of drawings. We give the little Tina Feys sympathy, rather than empathy. Why don’t we encourage them to speak for themselves and express what they really think. Some adults do. Regardless of what we teach, people can always see through other people’s bullshit. That’s my point. Let us remember that and teach not to bullshit. As adults, when what we are thinking is “Oh, it’s like that motherfucker? Got it.”, we pretend it’s not and think we’re doing a good job of hiding it. Kids are good on calling us out on it. Adults, in general, not so much. We tend to just take note of it and talk about it with others. I think that kindergarten scenario is quite hilarious, if you ask me. I love being around kids for that very reason – they’re so funny and true and tell it like it is.