Entities

Chris and Jen

Every now and again, I am blessed with a student whose joyful energy infuses my whole classroom with sense of happiness. It is lovely when this happens as I have always believed emotions are contagious. Last semester, one Mr. Christopher Fry entered my classroom and my heart in one fell swoop. It was impossible not to be charmed. Fortunately for me, Chris a gift that keeps on giving. Despite his entry into “adult world”, we are able to keep in touch through his lovely girlfriend. Jen is enrolled in class this semester. She shares Chris’s ability to influence every space with her sweet sensibility and kind heart.

Last week, Chris came to visit. He shared this picture with me (above). I immediately asked if I could share it with the Tuning the Student Mind family of friends.

This is an experimental self-portrait of Chris and Jen on their front porch. Chris explained the photographic process of capturing such an image. Frankly, he seemed surprised with the magnitude of his technical success. I’m not. This photo may just be the most honest self portrait I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. He has truly captured his and Jen’s true essence in this picture. Chris and Jen are bodies of light – lit up on the inside with so much goodness it aches to be seen by others.

Molly Beauregard

(Photo by Chris Fry – www.chrisfryphoto.com

You Are Creativity in Action

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.24.04 AM

“At this time, I can’t think of anything more meaningful than taking meaning apart.” Meyer Vaisman

I teach a class called “Consciousness, Creativity and Identity” at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. I think this is very funny. My students seem to think I know what I am talking about. However, you can’t really teach someone to be creative. We are all simply creativity in action.

My academic background is in sociology. I love sociology. My students, well, they put up with sociology but what they truly love is stories. So, I do my best to weave together stories and sociological definitions. Sometimes, I am very successful, sometimes not so much but we have fun muddling along together and occasionally we share an “aha” moment that leaves us all quiet for a moment reveling in the joy of finding something in this crazy, mixed up world that makes sense.

I generally start each semester with a brief synopsis of Berger and Luckman’s classic work, The Social Construction of Reality. Berger and Luckman stress that human knowledge of the world is socially constructed. In other words, we apprehend our understanding of the world through our social situations and our interactions with other people. Every time you interact with your mom, your role as daughter or son is confirmed and confirmed again. Our shared routines, customs and social processes define the knowledge we have about the world around us. Of course, if this is true we must recognize that our view of the world is partial at best. Our understanding is limited by our own evolving perspective.

I ask my students to start to think about why they believe what they believe about themselves, their families and their communities. Pretty quickly everyone begins to acknowledge that we have all learned what it means to be human – in all of its contexts – through past interactions and social context. When you stop to think about it nothing really has meaning in itself, it is the relationships of concepts to one another that generate meaning.

Sometimes this same week I toss in a little Michel Foucault. Michel Foucault was a famous French philosopher who argued pretty persuasively that society has systems in place that encourage us to self regulate without the active threat of punishment. He believed that individuals internalized the “managerial” gaze that watches over us. Using the metaphor of a panopticon – a circular building with an observation tower in the center of an open space surrounded by outer walls (think old fashioned prison) – Foucault argues that an individual who is aware that he lives in a field of visibility assumes responsibility for the constraints of power imposed against him. Think Big Brother — why do you stop at that stop sign on a dark night in the middle of an empty parking lot?

You may be wondering at this point, what does any of this have to do with my own subjective everyday life experiences. Well, here is where the story telling comes in . . .

What is the first thing you do in the morning? Brush your teeth? Wash your face? Go to the bathroom? Check your phone? In addition, to the basic necessities of everyday living, I want you to imagine that you also put on a full body Velcro suit and an imaginary electric fence dog collar. (The Velcro suit is a metaphor for Berger and Luckman. The very tightly fitting electric fence dog collar relates to Foucault.) Not only are you collecting a whole lot of stuff that doesn’t naturally belong to you but you are also getting shocked in the neck every time you cross an imaginary boundary. By the end of every day you come home with a whole lot of expectations, ideologies and generally just crazy ideas about what it means to be successful, what it means to be happy and what it means to be human. And, certainly, you will have neck burns if you happen to visit the airport, reveal your political leanings to the wrong audience or accidentally wear your jeans to the country club.

Perhaps, this would not have been such a big issue if you worked in a factory in 1935. Hypothetically, you would go to work where you would engage in specific tasks and you would come home to very rigid expectations. “I am Dad. I am breadwinner. I am worker. I know who I am!” But, for most of us, this is not reflective of our day to day reality in 2012.

In the post modern age — or as some like to say the post post modern age — we have become splinted selves — fragmented aspects of the whole and very very few of us only play one or two roles anymore. In addition, I think it is fair to say that very few roles are so narrowly defined anymore. And, this my friends, is where the stress comes in — we are all changing our hats all day and night while simultaneously being bombarded by the visual landscape, noise and a dizzying array of cultural expectations.

And, finally, what does this have to do with creativity?

Here’s what I want to tell you about creativity: at your very essence you are creativity in action and I mean that very literally – the core basis of who you are is your creative spirit. I want you to think about this for a moment: think of planting tulip bulbs. You plant them in the fall and you do not go outside, dig them up and check on them in January. You do not water them or talk to them (Shouting GROW Tulip GROW!!) or fertilize them. They just seem to know what to do. Or a newborn baby — silly, how he starts to grow all on his own without any interference from you. That is how creativity works. It flows if you let it. The question is: how in the crazy mixed up world that we live in do we tap into this beautiful flow of ideas?

Do you remember being a child? The ideas would just come – game after game of inventive play. It is the world that gets in our way – or at least the way in which we interpret the world and let the world interpret us. It’s that Velcro suit and dog collar we all slip into at the age of seven – they don’t call it the age of reason for nothing. And this is a very real problem.

I use the analogy of cleaning out the garage with my students. What is the first thing you do when you clean the garage? You take everything out. Now, obviously, identity is important – we need to recognize each other — but peeling back the layers of yourself helps you to become aware of what is really you and what is falsely you. This process will go a long way toward reintroducing yourself to your Self. Think of yourself as an artichoke – we all long to get to the heart!

The search for creativity ends when we accept that creativity is not outside of ourselves, rather it is inside of ourselves. In other words, we are that very creativity we are constantly searching for. We just need to get out of our own way!

Think about it:  What’s been stuck to your velcro suit lately?

 

If I Were King by A. A. Milne

I often wish I were a King,
And then I could do anything.

If only I were King of Spain,
I’d take my hat off in the rain.

If only I were King of France,
I wouldn’t brush my hair for aunts.

I think, if I were King of Greece,
I’d push things off the mantelpiece.

If I were King of Babylon,
I’d leave my button gloves undone.

If I were King of Timbuctoo,
I’d think of lovely things to do.

If I were King of anything,
I’d tell the soldiers, “I’m the King!”

 

Love,
Molly

The Story of My Life

AmandaText3

I have found that difficult situations can often yield positive, unexpected results. The moment I first realized that “things happen for a reason” was when I was fifteen years old and enrolled in basic art class. I scoffed at the idea of having to be in “basic” art. Nevertheless, I made the best of the situation. One of the assignments, the “altered book” project, proved to be quite challenging. Despite my frustrations, this project more than any other confirmed my enthusiasm for both art making and synchronicity.

I chose to work with an old physical science book. While pondering what to make of the book, the light bulb above me went out. Being a quick thinker, I unscrewed the light bulb and devised my plan of attack. Over the next several weeks I drilled a hole in the binding of the book just big enough for the light bulb to screw into. I collected wires forming them into the names of all the things which are important in my life. The list included family, friends, horses, art, and video. I sculpted and glued the pages to arch up as the book lay open. After splatter painting the pages and wiring the wires from the outside of the book to the center where the hole was drilled, there was only one intrinsic asset to finish. I carefully painted my own face onto the smooth surface of the light bulb.

On the evening before the project was due as I turned to pull my chair closer I accidentally knocked the light bulb to the floor. In slow motion, it shattered into millions of pieces. My eyes grew large and watery. What had I done?

I reached down to pick up the largest piece of glass. Of this entire light bulb, which had splintered into countless pieces, the painting of my face remained untouched. I grabbed the stem of the light bulb and scraped up some of the broken glass pieces. Then I carefully glued all the tiny pieces to the surface of the book amidst the mess of wires and words. Finished, I absorbed what I had created. It was me; electrified and broken down in the craziness that makes up my life. Yet, I’m smiling—a trait of mine which seems to never cease.

In reflection this moment seems very petty, however, at the time it made quite an impact on me and the thought process I have today. David Richo, author of The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know, states, “We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding. Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.” At the moment I broke the light bulb, I really could not give a damn as to why it happened because I was too preoccupied wishing it had not. However, I pride myself, even years later, in the fact that I picked up the pieces. If I had not broken the light bulb or reworked my project, I would have never come to understand how all of these elements that make up my life truly bring me great happiness. The chaotic nature of loving so many things might break me down from time to time but in the end it also defines so much of my identity.

While I never envisioned my piece to look the way it did when completed, I also never dreamed it would make it to the “Top 18” at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Receiving such a high award in the aftermath of a moment of self-discovering solidified the fact that things really do happen for a reason. Becoming aware of what I was learning about myself was the beginning of a lifetime of reflection and appreciation. Sometimes seeing the perfection of every moment comes after you string all the pieces of light together.

– Amanda Trudell | College for Creative Studies

http://www.behance.net/amandatrudell

Amanda_Trudell

 

Spread Your Seeds

5D_Yoga_CU.Still002

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

When I was a kid, I always wondered if I was the only real human among a sea of robot-aliens. But as I grew older, I began to worry that I was crazy, and everyone else was sane. As my vocabulary grew, the definitions of words became ingrained in my mind – of success, failure, ‘a good life’, and even sanity. Suddenly, there was a list of activities I ‘should’ be doing, majors I ‘should’ be pursuing, careers I ‘should’ have. I quit listening to my DNA and numbed my senses from what actually felt right for me.

While wallowing in this confusion, I slowly realized that others were feeling guilty and lost, perhaps even more than I. One friend, Jordan, grew depressed over the course of eight months during our senior year of college. She wanted to learn how to meditate to quiet the voices in her head constantly nagging her ambitious spirit. We started Spread Your Seeds to raise money for her to learn transcendental meditation.

Tragically, Jordan died before Spread Your Seeds was fully organized, and after, other friends and I began furiously organizing as a coping mechanism. We poured our sadness into it but soon the organization grew heavy. As we were all about to graduate and disperse all over the country and world, Spread Your Seeds was temporarily put to rest.

For a year after Jordan died, I was raw. Raw from heartbreak, from realizing I had to earn independence and from confronting myself for the first time since childhood. I was offered a scholarship to learn the meditation technique Jordan had been interested in. I have since learned how to dive into myself regularly instead of allowing trauma to force deeply rooted feelings out. I believe there are many tools to quiet down and help us listen to ourselves. Yoga and meditation are simply two useful tools for “checking in” in a healthy way.

Upon meeting Molly and Chelsea, and learning more about Tuning the Student Mind, the possibility of a partnership sprung Spread Your Seeds back to life and renewed the mission of providing healthy living resources to students – a group that’s put under the immense stress to figure out their lives while the technocratic world changes more rapidly than ever before.

Our process is simple: we make necklaces filled with seeds. Whenever you feel uprooted, you uncork your necklace, sprinkle seeds out, and instantly remind yourself of how you are in control of rooting yourself back down. The proceeds from the sales of these necklaces go towards providing healthy living resources to students and raising awareness about the ways we can quiet down the noise and listen to our own voices.

It is our hope that Jordan’s spirit lives on in this mission infusing our efforts with meaning, love and commitment. All young people should live in a world where inner peace, happiness and a sense of well being pervades their everyday life experience.

Poonam Dagli | University of Michigan

 

 

My Favorite Mentor

Leah_Waldo

My most influential mentor is my grandmother, Marilyn Cecelia Hewitt. Growing up in Detroit during the Great Depression, she learned to live frugally but was still able to enjoy life. She has always encouraged me in my pursuit of knowledge and supported my interest in the arts, including glassblowing, music, and dancing. She has inspired me to develop my spirituality, refine my talents and skills, and take advantage of every opportunity, especially while I am single.

Even while I was young I appreciated how she conducted herself as a woman with class and style. I have always been impressed by her impeccable care in dress– for instance, how she carefully matched her white blouse with white shoes, accessorizing with a white handbag (only between Memorial Day and Labor Day, of course). She made me want to follow in her footsteps with her conscious care of body, mind, and soul.

By example she taught me patience, humility, generosity, and positivity. Ever since I can remember, she would come over to my parent’s house to selflessly help my mom. I would look forward to that day, arranging my schedule so I could spend time catching up and hear the latest news while drinking tea. Under my grandma’s tutelage, we began cooking together. I enjoyed learning about different herbs and spices, listening to her patiently describe when and how to use them. She also taught me how to sew, both by hand and machine, even helping me alter a dress for an upcoming dance. While we worked I loved hearing her tell me of the exquisite balls and dinner parties from days gone by. The stories she shared caused in me a desire to learn how to dance with grace and assurance. I still remember the warm summer evening at my parent’s cottage when she taught us how to dance the dance of the 1930‘s, the Charleston. We quickly lost interest in our campfire, laughing and dancing under the stars.

My grandmother has always been willing to lend a listening ear and give thoughtful, wise counsel. When thanked, she will humbly reply “Sure, I’m always full of ideas for the other guy!” As someone I respect and look up to, I cherish my time with her and hope to be like her one day. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, my sweet “Gramsie” has had a significant impact upon the lives of many others as well as my own.

 

Leah Waldo | College for Creative Studies

www.leahwaldo.com

 

To see all posts under Let’s Celebrate Your Favorite Teacher click here!

Charleston photo by Charles Phelps Cushing

Learning From Outside My Comfort Zone

SamanthaText3

I have always been a quiet person. I have been told that even when I was born I didn’t make a sound; I just looked around the room as if I was studying my new surroundings. I was given the name Samantha, which actually means listener, and listening is what I am good at.

In eighth grade I wanted to join the drama club. This would seem out of character if you know me, but I didn’t want a part I just wanted to work backstage. In order to be any part of the club though, I still had to try out. On the day of the auditions I was the last person to read. I went into the room telling Mrs. Parker, the teacher in charge who had taught me social studies for the past three years, that I did not want a part and just wanted to work backstage. She looked at me and frowned, but then smiled; telling me that she would still like me to read a part. So I did, not expecting anything to come of it.

The next day the results of the auditions were posted and to my horror my name was listed next to Margaret LaRue, a character in the play. I went to see my teacher, who informed me that this was not a mistake but that if I wanted to be in the drama club I had to take this part. She told me that she knew I could do it and when I began refusing again she showed me that the part only had three lines. I looked at the three short lines and saw that they didn’t come until the end of the play. So I decided maybe I could do this.

I went to the first practice the next week. I knew my lines weren’t until the end so I expected to sit and watch as the rest of my peers read their parts, until it was my turn. To my surprise I was called to the stage at the beginning. I hurriedly looked through the script for my characters’ name and lines in the first act, but didn’t see any. So why was I needed on stage?

The play was a murder mystery, based off of the game Clue, and my character was the person who was thought to be murdered. In the play, my body was found and the other characters, thinking me dead, hid me on the stage. The stage was decorated as a living room, and I was placed next to the couch with a lampshade over my head, comically hidden from the other oblivious characters. After looking at the script a second time, I realized that I was on stage the whole time! I didn’t want a part in the first place and now I had to sit on stage for the duration of the play? When we had a break I went to talk to Mrs. Parker again, planning on quitting.

I think she knew right away what I was going to say because she took me into another classroom and had me sit down at one of the desks. She sat down next to me and took my hand. She then said, “Samantha, I know you can do this play. In the time that I have taught you, you have been so quiet, which is okay. But I have noticed that when you do decide to say something, people lean in to listen. They want to hear what you have to say… it is a privilege to hear what you have to say”.

I was so surprised, and still am, by what she said to me. I just stared at her. I had never thought of myself as having anything of importance to say, and hearing someone tell you that they believe in your voice and your thoughts is shocking. She told me to think about it some more and left me to decide what to do.

I decided to stay in the play. It was scary and stressful and there were other times when I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. It was, and will probably always be, the only play that I have ever been in, but I am glad that I stuck with it. I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to do, and while it didn’t help me get over the fear of public speaking completely I think that it helped me to better cope with the idea of it. Having someone believe in you is a powerful thing, and Mrs. Parker helped me to believe in my own voice. I will always be a quiet person, and a listener, but I know that when I have something to say I should say it. She has helped me to be able to express myself and believe in myself, which has helped shape who I am today.

Samantha Lada | College for Creative Studies

 

 

The Impact of Mentorship

imre

“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” ― Galileo

My mentor died last month. It was unexpected. When I heard the news, my breath caught in my throat and a simple “no” escaped my lips.

Imre Molnar was the Provost of College for Creative Studies. A former corporate designer, Imre choose a career in education because he believed in students and was inspired by the kind of innovation one only sees in the freedom of an experimental incubator like a student studio.

When the President of our college organized a meeting for faculty and staff impacted by Imre’s death dozens showed up – including professors, maintenance men, department chairs and administrative staff. It says a lot about a person when his impact extends far beyond the boundaries of his authority. There were over 800 people at his memorial.

I remember the first conversation I ever had with Imre about bringing transcendental meditation to College for Creative Studies students. He listened to me with rapt attention. The intensity of his gaze suggested the sincerity of his interest. His pointed questions helped me to narrow my focus and strengthen my arguments. As our meeting finished, he smiled at me. Spreading his arms wide and gesturing to the stacks of papers strewn around his office he said, “Molly, you have an outstanding idea. As you can see, I am mired in my own mess of papers and projects. This will have to be a grass roots effort but I want you to know – I believe in you. And, I promise not to get in your way.” His silent support served as an enormous motivator. His belief in my ability to be successful empowered my efforts by helping me to see myself through his eyes. I knew he expected the best from me.

The art of teaching is the ability to help others see things in new ways. It doesn’t always take a lot of words but it does require a sustained attention on your pupil. Listening may be the most powerful tool a good teacher develops. It is in the act of listening that we allow students to rise to expectation, shift perspective and feel their own internal knowingness. Active listening engages student’s attention and helps them to expand their own knowingness. It also creates an atmosphere of warmth and love which motivates students to strive to do their best.

Many years ago a dear friend of mine lost her mother. After the funeral, she and her four siblings were sitting around the table laughing and crying and telling stories about their beloved mother. Eventually, her eldest sister confessed, “I know this is hard on all of you but ultimately this is the most difficult for me. You see, I was always mom’s favorite.” A pregnant pause ensued while everyone gathered their thoughts. Eventually they all said, “No, no, no!!! I was mom’s favorite!” Could there be anything more powerful than a mother whose children all believe they are the most cherished?

Human nature is to please. We all work extra hard to please the loving mother, the doting father and the high minded teacher. Imre was an inspirational leader because he knew how to make everyone feel respected, valued and appreciated. We all believed we were his personal favorite. In my mind, his death has opened the heart of CCS – with each of his “favorites” hungry to share Imre reflections, there is more talking and reaching out on campus. Ironically, the lasting impact of Imre’s personal touch style of teaching may be a renewed commitment to collaboration.

Imre’s life inspired a great and empowering legacy – a true commitment to creativity, innovation and thinking outside the box. I am proud to be one favorite in a crowd of many – it insures my ability to tap into the great resources left behind in the collective memory of my many new friends.

 

Molly Beauregard

Found Within

ek_rendering II

My childhood neighborhood; was one of those where everybody knew everybody and I knew these streets like the back of my hand. I knew which families lived in which houses, what time Mr. Konsol would pull in the driveway from work, what time Bob and Virginia would water their yard, these details became so known as if I would be tested on this information. Maybe that was what made it so special; it was small enough for us all to grow into a family. Our days were filled with new games, invented activities, neighborhood sports, but never boredom. It was these days that were relatively care free. The only worries were when the street lights were turning on and it was time to head home. The greatest attribute of that vicinity; had to be the woods surrounding us. We considered these trees the essence of what is was to be young. It was our get-a-way, and retreat just feet away from our homes. The majority of my memories took place within these trees. It was the place that we knew we were free to express ourselves and be whatever we wanted to be.

No one was judged; no one argued here, it was just ideal. Within these trees I received my first compliment from a boy, it was the first place I attempted to smoke a cigarette, it was where many secrets were shared and stories were told. What made it so great was how we took something so simple and refined it to be so unique, attaching experiences and memories. Now imagine the devastation when they tore down a section of the infamous woods to build condominiums. This new complex took away our trees and eliminated the safety that we found within them. Since I was too naive to respect economic growth, I handled it quite selfishly. It seemed to be that the reality of all of it sucked the imagination out of us.

Looking back now, I appreciate how we were able to take something so basic and formulate it into euphoria. Nature so effortlessly inspired us to be ourselves and taught us to appreciate the most simplistic things in life. I did not think it was possible to find that simplicity again until this semester. I have recently discovered that…“Everything worth knowing can be known within.”

Erica Kimber | Interior Design Student, College for Creative Studies

 

 

Movement

Britt_Hamlin

A certain professor once told me that I needed to start finding intellectual pursuits that furthered my growth as a human being and kept my mind off of others. She also said that people were a matter of the heart, and all I needed to worry about was how to love them better. Three months later and I am just now starting to really understand what she meant by that.

This past year has presented some personal life challenges that forced me to look at people in a different light, and it wasn’t positive. I became discouraged and sour, introverted and detached, and very not my usual self. And as a naturally self-aware person, I could only let the charades continue for so long. So, I decided to make some changes.

The coming new year seemed like a perfect time to flip my world upside down and refuse to take any more bullshit from myself. So that’s exactly what I did. I got up, de-cluttered my house, and organized my studio. Oh, and I started practicing yoga. This ladies and gentlemen, is a monumental feat. As I have not only challenged myself to do it every day for 365 days, but I have also began to blog about it.

My intellectual pursuits are now becoming very satisfied, as well as my desire to get into shape and meditate. I’m excited to get back into writing too, another resolution of mine. (The number of birds I’m killing here with this one stone is really starting to add up) As a once anti-blogging, out of practice with journaling, glassblower revs up to write something every day for a year about her experiences with moving meditation.

Whoa, ok. Now that I’ve announced my big challenge, I can move on to the real point of this post. When going to set up my tumblr, I had completely forgotten that two years ago, when I was not so determined, I opened a tumblr account and posted a hidden gem. It was all about moving from the past and coming to terms with my situation. If I’m not mistaken, I was doing a lot of journaling around that time, and also had some family/relationship hardships that I was going through. So it’s very appropriate that I would write something like this.

It’s a very stream of conscious entry, so much so, that I completely forgot and denied that I wrote it for the first ten minutes upon discovering it. But lo and behold, it’s mine (I even goggled it). Oddly enough, it’s still extremely relevant in my life today, just in a completely different way. But this time around it’s so much better, because I’m finally moving and becoming present in my own life.

I hope you can find some meaning or truth in my thoughts. After all they’re not really mine, but more so a collective of thoughts, my words just merely an interpretation.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my blog @ www.spiritgangster.tumblr.com, and follow it if you’d like.  I’d really appreciate it!

What are we, where are we going, and where are we from? Thy do not tell me in thine stories of fact and foe. For the love of thy soul rests not. I dreamt of a day when the true tale of thus far was no longer real. My days possessed in the soul are those that I cherish deeply and wish to let go, and move on from. They are true inner workings that will always be there. They are the ghosts of my eternal soul. 

I live within, there fore I am. I am within; there fore I am not within. I am, but I am not. Nothing is for certain, and that we can coin with it. We are what we set out to believe and be. What do you want, and how can you get it. Do you know how to get it, and to get it yourself. For you have to be sly and cunning, but not deceiving, honest action and movement. Vivace. Movement. The constant action of the body and mind, which stimulates the senses and keeps the soul sane. 

Different types of work, all creative, all approached from a different angle. What a life. We must strive to be more everyday, every single fucking day. We must strive to be better people, we must adore the earth that we walk on, and we must know what is good for us in our heart. We are the people. We are the life that we want to be. 

I am no more a truer being than what I was yesterday. I am what I am. I am that which lives on and on and on. And I am what will always be in the person next to me. And within me, and around me, and all over me. I am the power. I am the true being. I am the strength. I am. Me. Love me. Love you. Love all.

 

Namaste

Brit Hamlin | Glassblowing major at College for Creative Studies

566289_10152626681975413_566091269_n

 

 

 

What Just Happened?

MichaelText3

Mom, Dad, and I walk into St. Dennis Church on a Sunday morning, a time I always dread.  I always have to be quiet and sit still.  Not to mention the constant rise and fall from everyone in their pews, saying (and singing) things that I don’t understand.  My mom has told me, along with my Catechism classes, about the story of Jesus, and what it means to be a good Christian.  I’ve read stories and done exercises, but I never really think about what I’m reading or learning.

I always go along with the flow, knowing my parents and the authorities know what’s best for me.  We sit down in our pew, and mass begins.  Songs ensue, which I either do not sing at all or sing very quietly.  I am constantly frustrated in mass because there are so many times when I don’t know what to say and when to say it; “and also with you”, and “Lord hear our prayer” and even that weird thing that everyone does with the crosses over their foreheads, mouths, and hearts.  I just try to follow this the best that I can but I don’t really know or care what it means.  All I know is that I can’t wait for communion!  I’m excited that I can participate in that now because I feel responsible like the grown-ups.  And also, what little boy doesn’t like food, even if it’s a tasteless, dry piece of bread?  I usually choose not tot drink the blood of Christ because I’m always afraid I’m going to take too much or spill it (plus, there’s the sharing of everyone’s germs in the whole church).  I go back to my seat from communion and meet my dad, who chooses not to participate.  It’s just something he has never done.

As mass goes on, my eyes usually wander to the beautiful painting of Jesus behind the altar.  It is painted in a very colorful style.  I love the inlaid gold halos over the characters’ heads.  Old men come by each of our rows and stretch out baskets on long sticks for us all to put money in.  My mom puts money in an envelope, representing our family.  I don’t think much of it, its’ just charity.  I do my best to sit through more songs and stories, and by now I’m tired of standing up.  This feels like a waste of time and I just want to go home.  Every time I come to mass, I search for the meaning but I leave feeling the same.  I hear the final song that is usually played at the end of mass.  I get so excited that it is finally time to go home.  We get up and walk out, saying goodbye to the priest.  As I leave the church I dip my hand in that weird water bowl at the entrance.  I don’t’ know what it does . . . magic, I guess. I get in the car, relieved that this ritual is over, somewhat confused about what just happened.

Michael McGee | College for Creative Studies

 

In January of 2013, Tuning the Student Mind asked students to write about an experience as though it were through the eyes of a seven year old. Click here to see all of the guest blog posts in the Through the Eyes of Your Child Self category. Please feel free to submit your own to, guestblogger@tuningthestudentmind.com!

See the Film