Acting

I think it was Jamie Foxx who, upon accepting his Oscar for Ray, said he needed to thank his grandmother (Estelle Marie Talley) because she taught him to act. He said she would tell him, “Act like you got some sense. Act like you been somewhere.” Isn’t that what all parents teach us? To act like we know what we’re about?

One of my professors recently reminded us to Act As If. This acting is crucial to us peacemakers guiding others through painful conflict. We have to act as if we know it will work out despite all evidence to the contrary. We have to act as if all of this chaos and conflict are manageable. We have to act as if we are at peace, regardless of what we may really be feeling.

As the mother of two young men, one in college and one in high school, I’ve tried to teach them the propriety of our culture. These are things like using an inside voice (mommy-talk for don’t yell in the house), pick up after yourself and look adults in the eyes when you shake their hands. These are all well and good but I think I should have broadened my instruction to simply teach them to “act as if”. Acting as if you’re responsible leads to being responsible. Acting as if you have some sense leads to you actually having common sense and acting as if you know what you’re about leads to you actually knowing what you’re about. This implies confidence and passion, two critical emotions to achieving our dreams. And that is absolutely the gift we want to give to our children.

My father, who is still teaching me many things, including how to be loving and joyful.

6 thoughts on “Acting

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