The Commitment Difference

Commitment. In this day and age it is almost a four-letter word. What is it about the mere mention of the word that can send the wishy-washy running for the hills? It seems there are not many people willing to make a commitment anymore. I recently read that the average celebrity marriage is 3 years in length. What is that teaching our kids? That it is okay to take the easy way out? Kids are growing up with more stresses today than ever before, so it seems that in an attempt to “de-stress” our kids, adults are allowing them to back down from commitments with little or no consequences. To be fair, I wouldn’t say that every adult is guilty of this, but it is a trend that is very noticeable in today’s youth. So how, then, can we expect young people to learn commitment? It is certainly a character trait in danger of extinction in future generations.

Perhaps commitment can be rekindled, however. As I look back on my own experiences in the arts I can clearly see where my sense of commitment was fostered. I did a lot of improv acting in my youth and that type of training instilled a bold sense of commitment. You are standing on stage with another. You must commit to an idea your scene partner has thrown to you. Catch the ball, throw it back. If you don’t fully commit to the idea, your response seems fake and the narrative of the story you are creating falls flat, you are both stuck, and the ball drops. The audience looks at you with a blank face and your face begins to turn red. Not a good feeling…trust me.

Artistic endeavours are collaborative in nature, so the team environment in a theatrical performance, for example, means that the cast is relying on each member to show up to rehearsals on time, be prepared, and put forth the effort needed to complete his or her part. It also teaches the old adage that, there are no small parts, only small actors. Cliché as it may be, it is true. Even the smallest commitment can be of vital importance to the final product. Children need to learn that a commitment, whether large or small, is a promise nonetheless.