Below is a chapter from Rule #2: Don’t Be an Asshat: An Official Handbook for Raising Parents and Children. Over time we will be posting most of the book, though, should this inspire you to buy a copy, we would not be offended 🙂 Posted chapters can be found in the Table of Contents.

Rule #53: Clap then they can’t hear you (Dad)

I love when you all react to movies.

We all know that Evelyn has the “most likely to react exactly as the director hopes the audience will react” award, but at one time or another, you have all been so drawn into a movie that you have clapped for a performance on the screen. The spontaneous applause was usually followed by trying to play it off and looking around as if you were not the one who clapped, but we all knew that you did it.

There is something telling about your spirit when you applause even when the intended recipient can’t hear you. What you are doing is surrendering yourself to the creative storytelling of another person and allowing yourself to enter new worlds and new contexts. This is a beautiful thing to behold.

As you get older and more calcified in your understanding of the world (happens to us all), this will be more and more difficult to do. Just like you exercise a muscle that has to be worked in order to grow, exercise your openness to the possibility that someone can draw you a narrative and communicate an unfamiliar story to you.

This is not just about the movies either. This kind of openness is needed in all aspects of life and relationships. A willingness to absorb and applaud another person’s creative expressions that touch your soul, spark your imagination, and move you to applaud, even in a darkened movie theater—this is a gift and one that will keep on giving.

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