I worry. I worry a lot. I never used to. (I mean I worried but generally, and selfishly, just about me) Then I had children and my perspective on that word really, really changed. It wasn’t a worry that they might fall out of their buggy whilst I walked over a bridge, or they would choke on a grape I had forgotten to cut, or falling down the stairs because I had forgotten to shut the blooming child gate. AGAIN. It was bigger than that. I wanted them to be happy. Really, truly happy.
So thank goodness, in the years previous to my birthing I was a Drama teacher. I saw first hand the power comedy gave to shy and awkward children and how empowered and liberated they became (my methods were some what non traditional). In 2005 I created an after school club called ‘School of Comedy’, with my best friend. Both teaching Drama at the Harrodian School, both trying our hands at acting and comedy on the side, we thought – why not combine the two?
The School of Comedy, in principal, is a club where kids can cut their teeth on the art of comedy.
In reality it has become so much more. We adore the kids we teach. Failing dreadfully at developing a teacher/student relationship, (we never really tried, we were too busy encouraging them to make us laugh) they divulge all their secrets and regale us with stories of their daily highs and lows, and that’s before the class has even started.
Ultimately, we allow them to feel safe. And in so doing, they trust us to try the unexpected. They step out of their comfort zone and push themselves through the embarrassment barrier. Tell a joke and succeed, the feeling is euphoric. Tell a joke and fail – well bloody good for you! You tried. You took a risk, you earn’t full respect from your supportive peers. Today you walk home ten feet taller.
So what is this club of ours? In a nutshell, it is the giver of confidence. Will Poulter thanks his Bafta for it. Jack Harries thanks his YouTube success for it. Parents thank the improvement in their children’s reports’, their confidence, their renewed sense of belonging for it, and our children, well, once they start – they never stop!
I will always worry about my children, what Mother doesn’t? But I hope, they, like the rest of our SOC kids, will grow in happiness and confidence and find a place to belong, through simply having one lesson in laughter a week. Something I certainly could do with (But that’s another club for another day)!