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October Capsule Week 1: Courage to Stand Up

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Back in September we looked at expanding our children's horizons, palettes and worldliness with an emphasis on three-dimensional experiences. Now more than ever, in our high-tech world, is this crucial. Let's exercise our children's ability to improvise and gain the courage to interact with real, living human beings.

1. Get out of your comfort zone with the commercial game. In my theater improvisation training, I learned to love this fast-thinking, spontaneous game of wit and creativity.Have your children find several products in the pantry, refrigerator or bathroom cabinets. Decide on a performance stage. Line a table, floor or mantle with the selected products. Each participant (and every family member should participate) picks an item to sell -- the only one who gets a pass is the designated judge.

Pause for a few minutes of creative thinking and internal scripting. Go in age order, or randomly pick from a hat who will go to stage. Each person gets 20 seconds to sell the product. You must state four essentials to be judged or you'll be disqualified: product name, price, where to purchase and why the viewer needs it. This game encourages quick thinkers, savvy consumers and children who can express themselves effectively.

2. Grab a newspaper (yes they still print them) and have each family member select, clip and share an article. They must state concisely the who, what, where, when and why of the story. Then in summary the presenter must take a side stating, "I believe this is true because...."

I recall in sixth grade my social studies teacher had us read the newspaper when the Berlin Wall came down. The tactile feel of the newspaper in my hands, the different viewpoints discussed and the wonder of a world beyond my tiny town still remains emblazoned in me. I later was gravitated to debate and rhetoric in high school, history in college and journalism for my master's. These seemingly small exercises are life-changing for children. Do it!

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