Try a Little Kindness
I guess after 15 years of performing I may have begun to get a little jaded about clowning. I always pull it together and give a quality show or performance but lately I have been feeling a little lackluster. One Saturday recently though I attended a picnic for the community of Live Oak not too far from where I live. I had finished with the games and prizes portion of my time there and I started doing balloon animals. The kids quickly lined up and began waiting patiently for their balloon. Some more patient than others.
I see it often, a pushy or impatient parent will either insist outright, or slyly maneuver their child up through the line to get their child a balloon quicker. It was actually a language barrier that caused the fracas in my balloon line on this day. A parent with limited language skills pushing their child up ahead of the others. Another parent did not take the situation kindly. I wish that parents would realize that it would be better to teach a child tolerance at a time like this instead of demanding their due turn.
In any case their had been some tension in the line and then it was over but I still had a very large gathering in front of me, all waiting for a balloon.
During the course of making balloons for crowds I will converse with the children in the line, asking them their name, if they are married, telling them how cute they are, (cute as a corndog!) etc.. After the incident earlier in the day I think I was concentrating more on getting balloons to the kids quickly rather than keeping the masses entertained as I usually did. I asked the kids what kind of balloon they wanted and then made it as fast as I couldNEXT.
It was a petite little girl next, I didnt ask her name because of the get the balloons to them fast factor that day. But this little girl got to the front of the line and asked for two balloons, a sword and a dog. I looked at the rest of the kids in line and told her, Honey the line is so long you have to choose only one.
She thought for a minute and said, A sword.
I thought, A girl asking for a sword
I looked at the little girl with huge brown eyes and asked her, Who is the sword for?
She looked off in the distance and said, My cousin.
This child had waited in the line, on a very warm day, all that time, and denied herself the reward of a balloon so that her cousin could have one. Well that did it for me. Quickly, (it took an additional 19 seconds) I made her the dog as well as the sword. She didnt know it but that little sweetie raised my spirits about clowning and I finished the day with a bang.