What are we talking about today?

I'll get back to theme days once I find a groove of posting regularly. In the meantime, most of my posts are about some variation of books, bikes, buses, or Broadway. Plus bits about writing, nonprofits, and grief from time to time.

This blog is mostly lighthearted and pretty silly. It's not about the terrible things happening in the world, but please know that I'm not ignoring those things. I just generally don't write about them here.

01 March 2018

School of Listen Up

I'm going to talk a little bit about School of Rock, and it will contain spoilers, so I'll do my usual things that I do so you can get away quickly if the musical is coming to you next and you've been avoiding internet reviews and whatnot. (By the way: this is not a review. I don't really do that.) I did not see the movie that inspired the musical--folks seem really keen on asking that question. I'm sure it's great, but I'm not a movie gal.

Okay, that should cover the few lines that pull from Facebook. Everything else after the jump.

This show is absolutely from a kid's-eye-view of the world, and that includes the main character, Dewey Finn, who is basically a tall kid who's allowed to drink. And by the way, the kids are spectacular. I've heard many great things about the School of Rock cast, and was not disappointed.

So there's a scene in the middle of Act I when the kids go home and interact with their parents. There's one of each parenting stereotype in this show, and while it's easy to see that most of the parents are doing the best they can to navigate life and give their kids every opportunity, a couple of them are simply awful. And I wish awful people weren't allowed to have children, but they are--it's not like I've never met people like these two. I know they exist. One of them gets some redemption by the end, the other not so much.

Anyway, the scene. Each kid, having tried in vain to express his or her thoughts or feelings to the relevant parental figure, sing "If Only You Would Listen." And it's heartbreaking, especially as they kids repeat, "All I want is your ear." They just want to be heard, the same thing everyone wants.

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them, all of it has always been big stuff.
Source: Pinterest.
So the song made me think of this Catherine Wallace quote, not the least of which because the characters in the show are coming up on the age when it will be big stuff. They're already thinking about colleges and careers. They already know some of the ways in which they differ, not only from their parents, but from their peers as well. When they repeat, "Someday, I'll make you hear," there ought to be a shudder from the audience at just how the kids could make themselves heard. Not all of the ways that kids (and adults) can find to be heard are positive, and in fact, rather a lot of them aren't. Joining a rock band is among the more tame ways, to be honest.

And it's not just kids who need to be heard, although they certainly should be. No, it's not just kids--it's all of us. Humans need to be seen and acknowledged and heard, at every age. Everyone deserves to know that they're important, not because of their talents or money or charm, but because they're human. I suspect if the parents in the show felt more listened to by their own peers, they might have had a greater capacity to listen to their children in turn. (Except that one guy. He needs a Gibbs slap, and possibly a cartoon anvil.)

By the way, I know a lot of parents who do this extraordinarily well, and while I respect their privacy enough not to shout them out personally on a public blog post, I can't let this moment go by without at least saying this: Y'all, I see you. You and your kids are a blessing to us all. Keep up the good work.

Wanna make a difference in the world? Hear. See. Listen. Don't let another day go by without letting those around you know you care. And I'll do the same.

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