Some of the greatest gifts of the human spirit are born out of sheer difficulty. Sometimes the “impossibility’ of a situation is an invitation to rise above what we think is possible!
This summer we spent two weeks in New York as guest artists in two different summer camps. We were working with girls and boys ages two to twelve doing a kaleidoscope of songs, dances, rhythm and coordination games, telling jokes and riddles, acting out stories… in the woods, indoors, by the pond, in the amphitheater…interspersed with a lot of free time and crafts and goofing around. Each week culminates with a performance for the families on Friday afternoon.
Both camps had their own particular magic. But it is the second week’s story that’s got to be passed on.
When our group of kids assembled on Monday morning, we were looking at the most ragtag assortment of children you can imagine. We went from working in a ‘dream camp’ in week one to a motley cast of characters with a spectrum of ‘special needs’ in week two.
So the challenge was on! After Monday, we threw out our carefully crafted plan for the week. We had to come from a different place in ourselves. The thought of doing a performance on Friday seemed totally impossible. How will it happen if we don’t connect with these children? We didn’t anticipate this! We’re not prepared! What do we do? Yikes!
Well, some things need to be learned many times over. Nothing can be solved from stress…ever. And sometimes, stress is a symptom of facing the unknown. This crisis is an opportunity! We can either ‘ride the week out’ and do the best we can, or we can summon assistance from a different part of ourselves.
No matter what is going on neurologically, psychologically, emotionally, physically etc. with a child, what makes them a unique human spirit is totally accessible through the natural human design and intelligence. It is a matter of communicating and connecting to that!
Enter – the power of song! Singing is a potent media. It is a natural bridge to the inner life of a person. And it includes so much that is natural to the human design, like rhythm, movement, pattern, sequence, imagery, texture, color, and things deeper still. Singing together can access and cause such a deep range of feeling and passion. Song can ignite and unify, can quicken and quell, can balance and fortify… so many things. It is a natural warmth and wonder!
A song can contain such rich human qualities (in the lyrics and in the music itself) such as Forgiveness, Humanity, Compassion, Understanding, Care, Defiance, Courage, Patience, Love… bypassing our filters and biases. A very potent media indeed!
So what did we do in our summer camp crisis? What did we do to bring this ‘dis-assortment’ of children into a cohesive and spirited ‘knock your socks off’ group of performers by the end of the week?
- We let the songs do their magic!
And the children gave a rich and beautiful performance from inside out!
Yes, it’s true. These aren’t just any songs. A whole world of wisdom and wonder live inside these songs. But songs they are nevertheless.
Sing hope for the future. Sing belief in what people can rise to. Sing honor and respect to what makes us human! Sing!