Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dr. Suess Gets Jiggy With It

Many of y'all know that I teach at an arts magnet school. You may have even heard me blabbing on and on recently about the phenomenal production that we put on every spring. We call it "The Big Show."

No...not THAT Big Show.

It's a singing, dancing, acting sort of show that stars 505 six through eleven year old children that go to Stone Academy. The teachers also have a special part in the finale song, which this diva absolutely loves.

This year's theme was "Oh, the Places You'll Go," which contained a script based on the Dr. Suess book. I'm telling you, these kids brought the book to life!

Now hold on a second. I can tell what you're doing. Please try to stop yourself from picturing that lame-o church play with the fat kid picking his nose on the front row, the girl twirling her skirt near the back, and everyone else in between waving frantically at their parents.

Oh no. That would never happen at our Big Show. This is no ordinary school play. This is such a big deal that we rent out McAlister Auditorium at Furman - which this FU alumna absolutely loves.

The kids are so well trained that if someone pukes or faints or falls off the risers - the rest of them just keep looking straight ahead and continue singing. I've watched it happen. Their focus is almost unbelievable.

I am a tough critic - very hard to impress - and every year I get teary-eyed at the finale. The angelic sound of those childrens' voices, the pride of their parents radiating out from the auditorium, and the combined sheer delight at having worked so hard to accomplish something so beautiful...it just gets me every time.

This year the finale song was "Climb Every Mountain," which is ironic since Liza just recently wrote a blog entry about The Sound of Music (one of my favs too Liiz, obvi!) :) As the kids sang out the last phrase, "Til you find your dream" their little hands went up and then out in perfect coordination.

They were all beaming as the audience bounded to their feet and gave a roaring standing ovation. We had to bow three times before the clapping started to slow down.

Now...I won't lie. Getting to this point wasn't easy. No way. This took months and months of practice and self-discipline. This took energy and effort beyond the scope of the average audience member's imagination. This took patience, oh-so-much patience from our related arts team of teachers.

And herein lies the message of today's post.

If itty bitty children can show that much self-control, practice that hard, work together beautifully, and produce and absolutely outstanding result - what is wrong with us grown-ups?

Why can't we get along?
Look at the mess in Libya. Look at the mess in Congress. Look at the mess in most of our families over the holidays.

Why can't we show self-control?
I know the devil on my shoulder wins more times than not when a kid is passing out cupcakes for his birthday. I talk myself out of exercising like an absolute expert. I put off grading papers until my book bag won't zip.

Why can't we work together?
Grown-ups become opinionated, prideful, and selfish. We all think we know best. Just think back to your last experience driving on Woodruff Road at 5:00 pm on a Friday. Uh huh.

Why can't we make beautiful things, instead of harboring selfishness, fueling hatred, drawing lines that divide, and sowing seeds of discontent?

Why can't we climb every mountain til we find our dreams - all while still considering that everyone around us has dreams, too?

Now I know:
Standing on risers ain't for sissies.
Neither is finding your dream.


  1. I haven't even read this post yet but I already have a comment. DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN I HAD THAT CREEPY LIFE SIZE POSTER ON MY DOOR?!?! Seeing his face on here right now just brought back a million memories! Creepy!

    Love you.

    I'm gonna go back and read this now.

  2. AWW love it. Thanks for the shout out.