POINT TO PONDER
"The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see."
- Alexandra K. Trenfor
During my days in theatre school, I was working as an actor on a scene that was giving me a particularly difficult time. The scene was a highly intense scene and I was having difficulty getting myself to meet the emotional demands of the piece. My teacher at the time was an old theatre veteran who would sit silently, letting the scene play out. After each take I would turn to him and ask what he thought. He would answer the question with, "well, what do you think?"
It would frustrate me. But he would ask me to do the scene again. And again. And again...
Each time I would get a little more frustrated, knowing that I wasn't serving the material in the way that was needed. And each time he would quietly say, "just do it again." For three weeks I did this, trying many different ways, feeling disconnected and lost.
Then a week before we were to perform the scene, I wanted to throw in the towel. I didn't think I had it in me. I went up to my teacher and said that I no longer wanted to perform and he asked why. When I told him he responded that I've been "trying" to do things, putting on what I thought would be right rather than listening to myself and expressing what I honestly thought about it. He told me to take a break, give it a couple of days and come back to it.
After a couple of days I did. Before I began, he reminded me to do nothing, just listen and respond honestly. I did. And to my suprise, the scene worked. After the scene was over he had a big smile on his face. I did too. For a second, I was a little irritated that it had been so effortless. I asked him why when I was struggling he just kept telling me to do the scene again and didn't just tell me to what to do right from the beginning.
He sighed and said that I needed to go through the process for myself. That I needed to be lost in order to find the answer. If he had given me direction and told me what to do, I wouldn't have understood why it worked when it did. He explained that he didn't give me any answers because I had come to it through trial and error. That way, I would be able to find the answer on my own when I was in a professional production and he would not be there to help me.
I understood then what every good parent does, that real leaders don't just provide answers, they prepare you to find them for yourself when they are no longer around.