Who’ll Take the Credit?

I spent a good amount of time in shopping malls last month.  There never seemed to be a shortage of performers vying for my attention, certain they were what was missing from my holiday cheer.  Most of the choirs, and dance troupes, and hand bell choirs were fine.  A few were good.  A smaller few were very good.

But one was absolutely, how do I say this…awful.  Just terrible.  It was clear that being in the dance troupe that season was more about a trip to Orlando than it was about dedication to the art.

Now, I come from a smallish town.  A town that, while it certainly appreciated the arts, wasn’t always all that good at it.  So, I have a soft spot for small town performing arts groups.  I was taught, “the smaller the band, the louder you cheer.”  But this, well…I was having a hard time with this one.

When faced with these situations I try to ask myself:  If I liked something about this, what would I like?

The few of us standing around all knew there wasn’t much redeeming about this.  But, even if only for myself, I was going to try and find a thing to like.

So, I asked myself the question.

If I liked something about this, what would I like?

If I liked something about this…what would I like?

What would I like…

That “if” in the question was quickly becoming a helpful out…

Wait.

What would I like.

Him.  That kid just left of center.  Him.

He got scooped up with everything else and labeled “bad”, but he’s actually pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.  He’s giving 100% of what he knows to give.  He not only knows the choreography, but he’s performing it.  This is clearly an important show to him.  To him, this show is an opportunity.  It’s the beginning of something.  I don’t know where his resume will go from here, but I do know he has plans to add to it.

As I watched him, I got a little choked up (as those that know me know I do).  I started thinking about how we all started somewhere.

Think back for a bit on where you started.

When was the first time you stepped onto a stage and you were not only allowed to be there, but requested to be there?  When was the first time you wrote a line of dialogue that got the desired response from your audience?  When was the first time you drew something and it was shown for a larger audience than that of your mother’s refrigerator?

Now think about the people that surrounded you as you were first learning.  The adults that let you get the line right, in your own time.  The people that laughed with you, not because it was funny, but because they knew what you meant.  The music teacher that insisted on all twelve scales.  The director that didn’t hold a grudge from your outburst the night before.

We all started somewhere, and we were all surrounded by people who helped us move beyond starting.

So, who are you helping to move beyond starting?  Who are you being patient with?  Who are you emptying your cup of know-how and experience into?

Because, here’s the thing.  You are very good at what you do.  And lots of people want to work with you.  And after they do, they’ll add you to their resume.

Will you want to take credit for them?

I fear the leader of the confused holiday dance troupe will only want to take credit for one of his students.  However, that leader’s name will be on the resumes of each member of his troupe.  And for each of them, he’ll have to take the credit.

We don’t always get to choose who we perform with.  But we can choose what they learn from us.

Make your line on their resume worth something of which both of you will be proud to take credit for.

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3 Responses to “Who’ll Take the Credit?”

  1. msnyderhhi Says:

    And don’t forget parents and family who sometimes are the only ones who can first see what you saw in that young man

  2. My start? With you, on a makeshift stage in the basement of that home in the “small town.” Practicing over and over for an audience who may never see. Yet, in our hearts our show had to be perfect.

    My start? In a different basement with a sheet hung over a clothesling to practice our puppetering over and over only to perform for a doting grandmother or my little sister. Yet, we carried on.

    Endless practice, “life is a stage” and you never ceased to remind me of that. Your dream was to be that “excellent” performer and you never stopped working until you achieved it, and then you went on to strive for more. So many shows, whether seen or not. I get it Rob. More than anything I get it…and I’m proud to have. Stood by your side for the first 18 years.

    Love you!

  3. Reblogged this on Rob A. Lott and commented:
    Throwback Thursday…

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