Today we took Sam to a library program that featured a juggler. The audience was made up of a few elementary summer school classes, some middle schoolers, homeschooling families, and doting grandparents with grandchildren. The juggler was a very talented man whose gift extended beyond just good coordination. He understood how to draw in and involve a crowd. Juggling, cute tricks, lots and lots of jokes--many of which were borderline gross--just the sort of thing kids love. He even made sure the parents and teens felt like they were a part of what he was doing.
At one point in the middle of talking to kids and juggling, he noted a pair of older men (probably grandpas) in folding chairs, in the back, by the door. They were clad in plaid shirts, jeans, and ballcaps and were sitting with their arms crossed only half paying attention. He then asked them (quite cheerfully) to uncross their arms because it was putting a lot of pressure on the performer. Both the men immediately looked startled and dropped their arms, smiling; after that, they were active listeners.
He made an interesting in passing comment while he was talking to the audience. "Are you happy? I am. Wanna know why? 'Because I've chosen to be. We get to make the decision everyday and I've chosen happiness. How about you?" Another time during the session, he pointed out a kindness one kid showed someone else and he commented to the kids that if everyone was that kind to others all the time, the world would be a better place.
I agree. I also think the world needs more jugglers.