I saw a wonderful clip of a young man performing magic on the Ellen Show recently. He was really charming and funny and even though his execution of the trick and his technique left a bit to be desired, his incredible enthusiasm won the day. The best part was watching Ellen crack up at his performance to the point that she was wiping away tears.
The other thing that struck me was Ellen’s generosity towards this boy. I’m not referring to the pile of magic props that she gave him as a gift at the end of the segment, although that was very sweet, I’m referring to the kind indulgence, patience and acknowledgement that she gave to his performance and to him. She didn’t use his time to interrupt for the cheap laugh or to put the spotlight back on herself, she gave him the most precious gift we can give to any child, she gave him her attention. She let him shine, and he did!
When I was his age I didn’t have a fraction of the bravado that this kid displayed, but my enthusiasm for magic was at least equal to his. I was a painfully shy boy who didn’t really seek attention outside my home. But within my family home it was a different story! With two brothers, the competition for my parents’ attention was fierce. Being the middle child didn’t help.
When this ancient art form finally found it’s way to me, an eight year old introvert with low self esteem, it spoke to me in a language that I understood. It was as if a hidden doorway had cracked open for me, leading to a whole new world of possibilities. I had found my passion, and (in my mind) my purpose. It didn’t hurt that my fledgling attempts at impressing my mother and grandmother brought out booming gales of laughter and screams of surprise and delight! It was intoxicating to have that response from them and it filled me with warmth to feel the spotlight, the attention... the love of my family upon me.
While watching that clip, Ellen wasn’t the only one wiping away tears.