My mother performed improvisational theater when I was a young girl. One of the rules of improvisational theater is “yes, and”; when an actor on stage throws you a concept, you agree and add to it. “I can’t believe we’ve been climbing this mountain for six hours now and we still can’t see the top!” You reply with, “Yes, my feet are aching in this boots. Maybe we can tie ourselves onto this ledge to take a snack break.”
I have been using the power of “Yes, and” in my mothering, and in dealing with what life has been dealing me lately.
My children both decided to sing a song in a variety show we were attending in honor of Solstice. I rehearsed them in my living room: standing up straight, bright eyes, introducing themselves and the song, and then singing, clear and strong. They were excited to sing. Once we got to the venue, my son wavered, as there were many people. “Yes, and.” “Yes, I hear that you are afraid. And, you have rehearsed and really know your material. And, I saw the joy in your face as you sang the whole song by yourself. I believe you can do this and do it well and enjoy it. And, if you want to change your mind, you can. There is the M.C. Just go tell him that you want off the program.” “Well, not yet, Mom. Let me just think about it.” The M.C. came by to give a double check on the contributors and my four-year old son chose to perform “after his sister and late in the show.” He made his own decision and gave a heartfelt rendition of “Singing In The Rain.”
On the freeway this same evening, in bumper to bumper traffic, in the rain, going about 15 miles per hour, we were rear-ended. My three young children and myself. “Yes, and.” Yes that was scary and I feel it in my body. Yes; the rain, the car, the hassle. AND, I will make the necessary calls and proceed to fix bodies and vehicles. AND, we are more okay than not okay. “And” allows the larger context: I was driving (lucky enough to own a car and be able to drive) with my three children (lucky enough to be out and about with three healthy children,) on the occasion of a celebratory, artistic solstice gathering (lucky enough to have such traditions—this was the 26th year with the same group– with friends and family in my life.)
Love and blessings for a safe and healthy holiday season.
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.