Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Note to My Children on November 9, 2016

Yeah, well, this sucks. On behalf of the world, I apologize to you and your generation. Dad and I and our friends worked hard to avoid this reality, but the world has failed you at this moment, there is no doubt. And it's scary and upsetting and it feels like anger would feel better than fear. Though it's okay to feel anger and fear, I urge you to eventually channel your anger and fear into hope, love, and action.

Humans are strong, resilient creatures. I keep thinking about how scary it must have been for the generation before mine. When they were your age, in the mid- to late-60s, their friends were being drafted into the military to fight in a senseless war. There were protests in the street. Segregation and sexism were blatant realities. Heroes were being murdered - JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King - and it must have felt scary and hopeless, yet humans overcame.

I've also been thinking about how scary it must have been during World War 2. London was being bombed. Paris was occupied by Nazis. Millions of people were being systematically murdered. It must have felt hopeless, yet somehow humans overcame.

Over and over, there have been in scary, hopeless times in our history. And yet humans managed to somehow overcome.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We are in a dark time. But we will overcome this too. History is a swinging pendulum. We are in an extreme. It will swing back eventually with some hard work and hope.

You are both in important fields for our times: art and education. Music and theater are vehicles for spreading messages of love, hope, resistance, and change. Education is the antidote to hate and ignorance. Education is hugely important for moving our world out of darkness. Once we come out of our grief, let's all focus on our art and education to heal the world. I am so proud of you both.

So, the thing is, the next days and weeks are going to suck. I need you both to take care of yourselves, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I strongly strongly strongly suggest you STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. It is not going to be helpful right now. Though it feels like we want to "be with our friends," social media is not a healthy place right now. In the future, social media will be useful as a way of banding people together to spread messages of love, hope, change, and education; but right now, it's full of fear. And it's all conjecture. Nobody knows how things are going to turn out. (Read that again. It's important.) They're just spinning out their worst fears. Please try to go on a digital diet for a week. Believe it or not, that's what I'm doing as much as possible, unless I have to promote shows. I'm off Facebook for a while because I know it's not going to be a healthy place for me and it will be too upsetting to see my friends spinning out their worst fears and present pain. If I can do it, you can too.

If you listen to the news, be sure to remind yourself of the difference between fact and beliefs. Concentrate on what is actually happening. What is a fact and what is an opinion? Put the beliefs and opinions in perspective. They're not reality; they're only ideas. Beliefs are not necessarily true or what's going to happen in the future. They are ideas, and ideas change. Even reality changes.

My plan is to concentrate on the voices of Good in the world. Find the leaders you trust in, both world and local leaders. Listen to them. Stand with them. This week, we are going to grieve. Next week, the work begins. 

By the same token, make sure to take breaks from the work and from unhelpful people in your life. Though these are dramatic days, kids your age tend to be extremely dramatic because you all feel things deeply. That's not a bad thing. In fact, that's important. But over the next week or so if things are feeling too intense at school, take a break. Sierra, I will come pick you up today if you need me too. Jake, Aunt Col will pick you up if you need a little break tonight or one or two evenings (or more) this week...she is very wise and will know what to say to help you maintain perspective. If you need to come home for a while, that's an option too. Otherwise, we'll see you in a couple weeks.

Please talk to dad and me if you are feeling worried. If you don't want to talk to us, it's important to reach out for help when you need it. You both have a fantastic, powerful tribe of adults - teachers, our friends, family - who love you and would drop everything to be of service to you. All you have to do is ask.

I love you both.


P.S. If you want to share this note with your friends in the event that it might be helpful, please do.

Pam Victor is an improv comedian, author, teacher, consultant, and nice person. She is the founder and Head of Happiness of Happier Valley Comedy, the epicenter of improv in Western Mass, where Pam teaches The Zen of Improv to the best students in the world as well as bringing the power of improvisation to the workplace in her "Through Laughter" program.  TJ Jagodowski,  David Pasquesi, and Pam are the co-authors of "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book."   She lives online at

Unless you're a meanie, Pam would probably like you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, if every child had a Mom like you, this world would be a very different place. Your combination of heartful passion, razor-sharp thinking and eloquent speaking is amazing. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us. We can all use it today. Kevin