A (Really Good) Week in the Life

Some weeks are ordinary.

This is not one of them.

The daily rhythm of life can, at times, pull us away from that which we most desire on this earth – connection, family, and the glimpse of a dream.  All of that stuff is happening to me this week, and it dwarfs whatever daily gripes or complaints I may have had during this past year.

It all started as my first year of teaching theatre finished in Saudi Arabia, and so we headed “home” to the USA for a blissful summer of family, friends, and functions.

The festivities started when we arrived in New York and were whisked away to see my first grandson for the first time ever. Wow doesn’t begin to describe it. I shall, at another time, write more fully about what becoming a grandfather means to me, in addition to what it means to time–I’m not as young as I once was. But the joy that a four-month-old brings a family is palpable by the minute. Joy oozes from the cries, the coos, the laughter, and the smiles. Those smiles. Wow. Those smiles. I was overcome with joy and so proud to be a grandfather.

I also made it home in time to witness the baptism of my grandson with the child’s other grandfather, from Korea, able to officiate over the ceremony with all of the family from both sides of the world present. It was a precious moment, good enough for mounting on a greeting card.  I hadn’t seen any of my children in six months due to the nature of my work, so it was special to all be together to say the least.

Now, my first week back in New York will end on a far more insignificant note: I, for the first time, get to see one of my plays produced in New York City.

While it may pale in comparison to holding my grandson, it will, nonetheless, be a remarkable moment to sit in the audience at the Gallery Players’ Theatre in Brooklyn to watch the world premiere of my short play: “The Birth of Technicolor.”

Yes, I feel blessed.

 

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A Season of Change, A Season of Craziness

So much is going on in my life this week that I think I need to write it all down just to keep track of it all.

On the homefront: May 13 marks my 26th wedding anniversary. Planning on doing something special tomorrow evening to celebrate.

On the author front: May 15 marks the end of my new novel on Kindle Scout. Now the two week waiting game ensues to see if Amazon wants to publish it.

On the drama front: May 19 is opening night of my new show, “A Tad of Trouble.” I’m really excited about this one, but wow do we have a lot of work to accomplish before then.

On the family front: My daughter plays in her final high school softball tournament on May 13. Four years, gone in a flash.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, my eldest daughter graduated from college last weekend on May 9.

With so much going on, I feel it’s important to take a moment to reflect upon this remarkable ten day period. So much joy and memories being crammed into a very small fragment of time. So many blessings lined up like well-behaved Terracotta warriors.

I’m so fortunate in so many ways, and it makes me want to remember those who are less fortunate, who suffer daily under a variety of heart-wrenching situations.

May we always cherish the wonderful moments God presents to us, and even in the midst of those, may we always remember to help those around us in need in hopes of creating a wonderful moment for one of them.

I’ll leave you today with a couple of nostalgic shots of my daughter’s last tournament.

Sigh.

2015-05-12 13.02.25 2015-05-12 13.11.44

Silent Cal, Social Media, & Conversation (redux)

When my blog was incredibly young nearly two years ago, I posted an article I entitled, “Silent Cal, Social Media, & Conversation.”  Its timely message has become more and more important with each passing year. We all spend so much time using social media that I do wonder when the day will come when we ourselves will be the media. Google Glass is going to be making media part of our fashion, so it will be always on, and always on us. That can only lead to us, ourselves, our bodies, our beings actually one day becoming the device. What will then happen with social conventions such as face to face conversations? Once again, here is the original post, “Silent Cal, Social Media, & Conversation.”

Former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge knew how to keep his cool.  He was so tight lipped that people dubbed him ‘Silent Cal.’  As one story goes, during a black tie affair at the White House, one lady guest said to the president, “I bet I can get you to say more than two words this evening.”  Without missing a beat, the president turned his head and wryly replied, “You lose.”

It got me thinking.  Would Silent Cal have loved today’s social media?  You can say so much without saying anything at all.

A friend posted the other day that she was in a room with many other people, but it was eerily quiet as each one had their own device where they played, tweeted, communicated, and shared information with someone, somewhere that may or may not have been in that room.

So what is becoming of conversation – I mean real face to face conversation.  What will real conversation be like in twenty years?  How is this affecting our kids who are growing up in social media, not social face-to-face conversation.

Being an introvert, I’ve never been a great conversationalist.  Silent Cal and I would have gotten along real well.  But, I understand that conversation is important.  Kids need to learn how to appropriately and effectively communicate with others when it’s not all lol, rotflol, and all these other abbreviations which I frequently misunderstand.

Let’s start with family dinner.  How many families continue to have family dinners with real conversation?  How many dinners take place when the TV is blaring, the cell phones are clicking, or the iPADs are being swiped (I don’t mean stolen)?

A former colleague of mine once said that children need to hear and take part in adult conversation, so they can learn new words in grown-up contexts.  Her contention was that children need to be exposed to ideas, current events, and philosophies which they aren’t going to get on their own or on some social media device.  I completely agree with her.  Children need to learn how to listen, how to think, and then how to speak when it is appropriate.  They need to try out new words and be corrected when their understanding isn’t quite developed.  They need to talk about and explore topics which may be over their heads.  They need to ask questions and ponder whether the answers make sense.  All of this happens in conversation.  It doesn’t happen by texting your friend about Hollywood gossip 500 times a month.

As I teach my students, I continually remember not to “dumb down” a lesson just because they may not understand a word.  I say every sentence the way I would if I was talking to an adult, and then I’ll clarify and re-explain something in different words if necessary.

But I just can’t help but wonder what our social media world will mean to our students twenty years from now.

Will everyone be living in the realm of Silent Cal with a communication gadget strapped to their arms?

Will we still be able to sit at a dinner table and converse with one another without interruption?  I hope so.