This past weekend I went to the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire for the fourth year in a row. The past three years I have bartended with the Knights of Columbus and this has become one of my favorite events of the year. Yes, I am a dork, but who cares? Lessons can be learned in the most unlikely of places (and from the most unlikely of creatures), yes that was a [amazon-product text=”LOTR” type=”text”]0345538374[/amazon-product] reference to confirm my dorkiness. This week I have three lessons to share from the Renaissance Faire that we can all improve our lives with.
First, Be You. Everyone else is already taken so don’t worry about trying to fit in; just be you. This seems rather simplistic but it is hard for many of us to do. We’re too worried about what others think of us when it is none of our business. The great thing about the Renaissance Faire is that people are just being themselves. They don’t care how their appearance makes them look; they’re just there to have fun. As you cross the bridge into the Faire you are greeted by people wearing Renaissance era attire, full get ups and all. As you make your way down the trail you cross people making weapons from hand, old-time shops, ax throwers, pubs, storytellers for children, and numerous stages with performing acts. There are people dressed as elves, commoners, queens, and kings. Cast, crew, and customers dress up in attire that reflects what type of Renaissance person they feel most reflects them. People are accepted for who they are and when I am there I truly get the sense that everyone is welcome. Seeing the people in the Renaissance garb, having fun just reminds me that we’re all different and it’s great. Appearance doesn’t matter. Being unique is something that is celebrated rather looked down upon. Too often in our materialistic society, we look down on those who are different. I used to be someone who did worry about what others thought of me but have now found myself. I have self-confidence, but many of our youth today do not. Something we must do as parents, teachers, and coaches is to help our youth become self-confident by teaching them that is okay to have varied interests. We must teach them that they do not have to follow the crowd, and to do what makes them happy.
Secondly, embrace and engage in true fellowship. In our high-tech, fast-paced world this is slowly becoming a lost art. One of the things that I like the most about visiting the Renaissance Faire is meeting, talking with, and learning from new people. It’s amazing how gratifying a simple conversation can be, but sadly I think our kids today our losing that skill. In instant communication through social media we are losing the value of a face-to-face conversation. Something we should all do as parents, teachers, and coaches is to teach our kids to be genuine. We need to model this by actually sitting down with our kids and having meaningful conversations with them. Then we must also encourage them to take this skill and apply to their friendships. It’s sad but it’s almost like a lost art. True fellowship is about friendship and accepting others for who they are. The Renaissance Faire is a great place to go and experience this. Here’s the link: Take your family and friends, experience some genuine fellowship, and have a great time.
A final lesson is to perform. No matter what you do for a living you’ll be asked to perform at some point. The level of performance varies depending on the career and job. The lesson from the Renaissance Faire is to perform and give it your best every time. The acts at the Faire must do this. If they don’t they lose the audience and money, and the faire will lose customers. My favorite act to see is the Celtic music trio, “Three Pints Gone.” I watch them every year and have yet to see a bad performance. They sing, tell stories and jokes, and the audience knows you’re getting their best. Most importantly, you know they enjoy what they are doing, because you’re having fun watching them. One bad performance could have a lasting impact for the act and the Faire as a whole. What we must learn to do is to never take our jobs for granted. We must go out and perform every day. You never know who is watching and one bad or great performance could lead to the big break. A rule to follow is to treat each day, event, practice, or game as the most important one in the world in front of the most prestigious audience. This is especially true for those of us who are teachers and coaches. A lost art that is present at the Faire is storytelling. All great performers know that storytelling is the key to connecting with and entertaining an audience. Storytelling has endured over time. So in order to truly perform at our best, we must be able to tell stories that appeal to, engage, and entertain our audience, whoever that may be.
These are just a few of the lessons that we can learn from the Renaissance Faire. One of the greatest things is visiting and going back to a time where things were simpler. Sometimes we need a break from out modern, fast-paced world, and maybe you’ll learn something about yourself and how you can become better as I have.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!