My daughter recently auditioned for a part in a local youth musical theater production. These productions bring out a lot of talented kids and the casts are large. Most students end up in the ensemble. Key roles and small solos are few and far between.
She was delighted to score a small solo for this particular show. Like I said, with nearly 70 kids in a cast, there aren’t that many solo parts to go around. Competition can be fierce.
As it turns out, the solo she was slated for is actually written to be a three part harmony. When time came to rehearse that part of the song, the music director asked her if she was fine with dropping her solo.
Wanting to be a team player, she said, ‘Sure.’
I discovered when I picked her up from rehearsal that she really wasn’t so sure. As a matter of fact, she was severely disappointed.
I’m the king of seeing things from the other side. This small solo is such a small part of the show, that I’m sure the director assumed it was no big deal. She’d ask my daughter – an 11 year old middle-schooler. And she would assume my daughter would have the strength and courage to be fully honest. They’d move on. No fuss no muss.
Still, this seemingly small part to the production team was the largest part of the show for my daughter. It was an opportunity to grow and experience a rare moment on stage.
One of the principles of living more simply is being clear on what you want and being willing to stand for it.
I coached my daughter that no matter who is asking your opinion or if you’re ‘okay’ with this or that, be as honest as you possibly can. Whether that person is a teacher, boss, friend, or even myself or her momma.
Be clear on what you want. State it loudly and clearly. If you’re ultimately overruled, that’s fine, but give yourself every opportunity by being honest about your wishes.
Most of us grow up with a tendency to take the temperature of the room and go along with what we think others want. We grow up trying to be ‘nice’.
While we ultimately have to accept decisions if we don’t have the final say – and have to do so with grace and a positive attitude, we should train ourselves to be clear on what we might want or what we think is best.
Being clear on what we want is an exercise in honesty. It will encourage quality communication over time. Even if what we want is selfish or not for the good of the whole, being clear is the first step to admitting the want is selfish or might not be the best.
This is not about defiantly demanding your own way. It’s about establishing a habit of being clear so you can deal frankly with others. Sometimes, your clarity will clearly show you some issues in your own heart that need to be dealt with: areas of selfishness, resentment, unforgiveness, and so forth.
Normally, though, being clear on what you want sets the stage for more opportunities and better communication.
If my daughter can develop this habit of clarity at an early age vs. always figuring out what folks want and succumbing to their wishes, things will go much better for her over time.
All of us would do well to develop this habit. I’m pretty clear on that.