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The Positive Impact of The Theater

The arts are healing. They carry the power to influence within a safe environment without taking on a permanent change.

Theater allows words and action of situations to come to life for a brief moment. We get to glimpse into another world from the safe distance of our seats. We are not required to engage at the moment, just listen and watch. We are voyagers privy to a peak into lives and worlds beyond our own. We leave pondering what we have witnessed. Some words and action might impact our lives while others are lost in the mental files of our minds.

What does a theater program offer besides the pleasure of attending? Community and school theater programs offer the opportunity to explore emotions, places and lives not our own. Improv companies allow people to step outside their limited thinking to explore responses to touchy subjects and emotions via comedy. Theater offers opportunities to role play situations before they actually happen in our lives to develop a better understand of our own responses. In some ways, role playing can be an agent for change. We can “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” via the theater. We can step outside of our being to experience a life of pain and sorrow, joy and ridiculous antics, within a safety zone without worry we might be labeled.

A shy child can develop social skills from exposure to the theater. The theater enhances reading skills in dyslexic people. Proof of this? Look how many actors and actresses are coming out about their dyslexia. If you have a change, check out Henry Winkler’s life story dealing with his GIFT of dyslexia. Being involved in plays can help an angry child learn control by being involved in theater games to prep the mind. Theater which includes dancing and singing helps children and adults to develop coordination and lung development in asthmatics. Singing, dancing, and acting, known as the triple threat hosts so many benefits. Theater, beyond the stage has unlimited possibilities for positive outcomes  for business, life and relationships.

You do not have to be an actor to enjoy being involved in the theater. Creatives are what make the performers look good, especially if not the best on stage. Costume designers, set creators, lighting specialist, musicians, make-up artist, dance instructors, voice coaches, graphic designers, technical support, and stage managers can make or break a production. There is a place for everyone in the theater arts. You can learn the trades and ways while actively working on a performance.

Quiet artist come alive while exposed to the actors and others behind the scenes. Lots of laughs and tears to be shed. Lessons learned dealing with deadlines and those sorts called directors, are life long skills we all need. The plus in the theater it is short lived and you can move on all the wiser. I cannot begin to list all the benefits of being involved in the theater arts as a game changer in life.

Support the theater arts in your community and schools. Become involved with local productions. Go see professional productions to gain insight into other worlds an cultures as well as explore emotionally difficult situations from a safe distance. Just go and be involved any way you can.

 

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PTSD : Parent /Teacher/Student Disorder, let the school bells ring terror

Ok, so I know that PTSD  official stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Actually. many students, including myself before I even knew what PTSD was might say that the first day of school brought on many symptoms of PTSD. Some of those might include: flashbacks from trauma of being bullied in the hallways, test  and performance phobias, the day you fell in the lunch room sending your food everywhere and all laughing at you, on the bus, the mind goes wild anticipating what could happen this year. Or, during home room when asked a simple question, the fear overcomes you, you become speechless frozen in that deer-in-headlights position or worse, triggers an anxiety attack.  Yes, I do believe some students, especially those with labels do develop PTSD.

Working with challenged students over the years, and being one myself, I realized there was another PTSD issue: The Parent Teacher Student Disorder.  When parents place too much pressure on their child along with teachers who do not believe in ADHD, LD, or other invisible challenges, and other students who constantly joke about the stupid things we, unique sorts, do, creates its own disorder of such. It is hard being a “double coded” kid. You are intelligent yet you do some of the stupidest things which brings negative attention. Folks forget about those brilliant moments but remind you daily of your oops ones. Teachers say you are lazy when it is really a mass of action in your brain going through the files looking for the connections and facts you know are there but have gotten shuffled in the vast files. And, the dreaded test time when everyone has finished but you. The whole class is glaring at you because you are holding them up from the fun.

The Parent Teacher Student Disorder creates a false reality which over time creates a learned helplessness in some and a rebellion in others. The message is “I am not good enough.” Some figuratively  crawl under a rock or become wallflowers. Others feel they must fight the system earning worst labels to add to their collection. Too much negative causes mass destruction to the ego and soul of a child who cannot help but be a bit different. Not the child’s fault processing works on DSL speed and everyone else is on  Wi-Fi.  And, we all know too well that sometimes brilliant dyslexic have autocorrect issues in regard to word choice, spelling, and pronunciation. I refer to it as the “Archie Bunker Disorder” because the words just come out are not what you intended though close but enough to cause massive hysterics and embarrassing moments. I think autocorrect oops are to give others a moment in my life at times. Though I think Siri and the other text gremlins are far worse than some of my moments.

Solutions to the Parent Teacher Student Disorder issues:

  1. Empower your child. Build confidence in him/her by remembering and reminding him/her of the brilliant moments more so than the negative ones. Discuss positive traits. Doing their best is good enough. Never stop trying.
  2. Enroll your child in a great theater program. This might take some investigating because some programs can have witchy directors. Theater can teach your child how to rebound via Improv. Your child will develop confidence via  role play. Theater can help build reading, speaking, and social skills.
  3. Make teachers aware of your child’s unique abilities, not so much his/her disabilities. Dyslexics are blessed with gifts to be discovered. Help your child’s teacher to develop an understanding of the unique qualities. Give the teacher a list of gifted challenged famous individuals. Google it, the list is ever growing. He or she maybe teaching the next Tom Cruise or  Walt Disney, both gifted and challenged
  4. For those who do not have “double coded ” kids, teach your children and those around you not to bully. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they are stupid or less of a person.
  5. Encouragement, a listening ear, a pat on the shoulder, and a hug can mean more than you know. Be mindful, present in the moment, and find the positive amongst the negative. Help be that person who makes someone’s day not tear it down.

Share your oops moments from school or even at work. Let your kids know we all have such moments. Teaching to recover and move on. As a parent, intervene at school if you suspect teacher or student bullying.  Yes, even administrators and other staff bully students as well so be alert to negative folks in your child’s life. Help your child learn who is a good  friend and those who are not. Let’s turn PTSD into Positive Time Spent Discovering instead of a negative disorder.

Let the bells ring and bring on smiles instead of terror.

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