SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 81: United We Stand, United We Grow

Stage mom’s of the world, take note. Here is one of the best.

Today I’m casting to create three foe families. Sounds easy, but it is quite a daunting task, trying to find people not linked by blood to fit together as a believable family.

Almost two hundred people have visited us today (us, I have to give credit to my client and crew) and although it seem obsessive, we need to see many to form a cohesive looking family unit. Thankfully, it’s been a very smooth day and most of the people auditioning are very professional and cordial. They’ve done this drill a zillion times and know the routine.

Casting are quite reaveling, I’m always a close study of human nature and keep a close eye on not only the actors, but the families and friend that accompany them, especially the youth talent.

As I am saying my hello’s to the patient ones (if you have ever been to a casting, you know what I am talking about), I’m drawn to a certain mother and daughter. I am smitten by the closeness in the way they communicate withe each other. They are actually collaborating, something that is quite inspiring to see between a parent and teen actor. I have an eight year old actor, and although she is a wonderful and patient kid, when casting time hits, it can sometimes be a trial avoiding the dreaded, “I know Dad!, or Mom stop messing with my hair.” And know this, we are not pushing our daughter to get into the entertainment business. Quite the opposite actually. We are the farthest from being stage parents. Another topic in itself.

So when I see the calm, and loving, waiting room relationship of Alyssa and her mother Ann, I must know their secret. I allow them time to finish their paperwork and upon the final pen stroke of filling it out, I share a warm invite to 365.

Mom, is a little surprised, but Alyssa chimes in, “Mom! do it! You have great things to say!”

And soon I understand exactly what Alyssa is talking about. Ann is a great mom, who is doing her part in modeling a wonderful path for her family.

Here are a few of Ann’s pointers on parenting, and from the self-esteem and happiness radiating from her sweet and talented daughter, I can only presume I am speaking to a well-adjusted family.

First off, Ann is brave, passionate about life and incredibly optimistic.

“Live life to the fullest. It is for living. Don’t be afraid to do things at the spur of the moment, by the seat of your pants.”

She elaborates with a personal call to action, “Let’s go! Let’s do it!”

But what about this call to charge forward? Ann continues with the grace of a seasoned counselor, “If you take life too serious, undue stress is the only result. You need to see life, not avoid it. Every day is an adventure, and every day is a day to better your life.”

I told you, Ann is a purist of optimism.

Sure we have heard this message over and over again during the last 81 days of 365. I expect we’ll hear it more as we progress. The thing that is interesting, it is continually delivered to us in different ways, by different people, all in endless sets of life situations. No matter if told by the rich, poor, sick or healthy, educated or struggling, the message is there. And that alone is snapping me to attention.

What about parenting?

I ask Alyssa, what she thinks of her mom’s life perspective. “Things are crazy sometimes, but I’m loving the experience and learning how to think and how to enjoy life.”

“We were once at a wedding in San Luis Obispo, Mom says, ‘we’re almost to San Francisco, we have gas, a little money and we have friends there to stay with, let’s go.'”

The results, “We had a great time and came together as a family. I love my mom.”

Came together as a family. I love my mom. How many of us parents thrive to hear these word from our kids.

So what! They travel, there’s got to be more, and there is.

Ann expounds:

“Don’t smother your kids, give them room to grow.”

“Let them make mistakes, how else will they learn.”

“Be vigilant, talk to them from the minute they learn to speak and understand.”

“Be silly and playful, but don’t paint life as a fairy tale, teach them what is real, and the consequences of both good and bad choice.”

“Give them rope, but be involved in guiding them”

“Be honest, communicate with them and allow them to tell you anything without fearing that you will judge them.”

“And most powerful, Teach them respect: For self, for each other (Alyssa has two siblings), for parents and for others.”

Alyssa is carefully listening to her mother’s council, all the while with a smile of acceptance glowing on her face. I redirect my query towards her, “What do you think of your mom’s words.”

“I totally agree, it is evident in my house. The fact that my mom love’s us and dad is evident in our house. That makes the difference and affects us kids. I’ve rarely seen my parents fight, and if they do. it’s scarring. They respect each other, and respect us. There is no way I will break that trust. Our house is filled with love.”

Ann contributes, “Disrespect is not tolerated, we have no yelling, no cussing, no pushing, no fighting and “hate” is a word that does not enter our house. And I’m happy to say, ‘All our kids get along.'”

We close with these last words, “As parents, don’t fight, argue or contradict each other in front of your kids. Stay united, your actions can either divide or unite. If your kids see you divided, so to will they do the same. It’s our responsibility as parents to set the tone.”