Can I Get A Redo?

My Favorite New Feedback Tip

"Stop chewing on that battery!"

"Don't use the hand towel to wipe your butt!"

"I am not a kleenex!"

"Quit kicking my bra down the hall... that's my good one!"

I never thought I would yell so much at my kids. But, to be fair, I never thought they would do so many idiotic things. 

I remember when my boys were littler and would put rocks in their mouth. I would see other mothers scolding their kids, "No! Yuck! Yucky! Don't put rocks in your mouth!" I would smile and think to myself, "I don't need to tell my kids not to put rocks in their mouths. The rocks will give them natural feedback and they will soon not want to put rocks in their mouth." I was wrong. They kept putting rocks--and all kinds of disturbing things--in their mouths. And other places. For years. And eventually I joined the ranks of parents yelling at their kids about what they are putting in their mouths. 

"What is that in your mouth? Is that a twist tie? stick? sock? Lego!?! Spit it OUT!"

(To my credit, I often follow up my rant with a calm explanation about why it's a bad idea to put those things in your mouth and suggest a better alternative.)

Even though I try to be a positive parent, aware of how much I say no and doing my best to reduce it, I can find my self slipping in to saying no, yelling, or being too directive. Especially with my oldest, who, bless him, has the biggest heart and imagination of any kid I know, and a body that ends up harming me, his brother, and anyone in his orbit on a daily basis. (He also really likes putting things in his mouth.) He's too rough, often not because he's trying to hurt someone (although that does happen,) but because he's lacking the input and awareness he needs to modulate his movements. In other words, playing and cuddling with him is like playing with a baby tiger--exhilarating, a little out of control, glorious, and sometimes dangerous. 

Recently, I saw a parenting coach who gave me some great advice which I already knew (which is the best kind) but I hadn't thought to apply to this situation. 

She taught me about The Redo. She said with kids like mine, they often get a ton of negative feedback. "That's too rough! Stop it! Don't do that!"  and it ends there. One alternative she suggested is I can give him feedback and offer him a redo. So when he high-fives me too hard, which he often does out of excitement and wanting to show off his strength, I can say, "Ouch. That hurt. Can I have a redo, this time more gently?" I did this exact move on a recent morning and it worked like magic. He totally knew what a redo was, he was able to give me a softer high five (but still firm) and we were able to end on a positive note about how good that felt. 

This is the same framework I've been using for years teaching improv and doing corporate training. As much as possible, I like to side-coach in class and give feedback that the participant can immediately implement and see positive results. That way, they welcome my feedback as a tool to help them improve and grow. And I feel awesome because I can actually see that I'm teaching them something. And ideally, a teacher should create an experience for a student that they could not have on their own and this redo technique is definitely a way to facilitate that. 

It makes me think, where else in my life have I been missing the opportunity to ask for a redo, as a perpetrator or a victim? In this time where so much of our ancient behavior is being renegotiated, would redos be an option? A way to give feedback, allow someone to try out a new behavior, and end on a slightly more positive note? The parenting coach made it clear that this isn't something you do in a crisis. Not when your kid is running into the street--you yell, you grab them, whatever you need to do to make them safe. But in those middle moments, where we want to show the people we love how we want to be treated differently, maybe a redo will do. 

Shana Merlin 

Founder, Merlin Works

Classes begin October 15th!

There's still time to register! 

Get ready to try new and fun things with your friends -- old and new!  It’s too much fun to miss!

Improv 101 @ ZACH North
Instructor: Kevin Miller  
Time: Mondays 8-10pm
Dates: October 15-December 10 | No class Nov. 19 
Location: ZACH North, 12129 Ranch Rd 620 N. #310, Austin, TX 78750

Improv 101
Instructor: Kevin Miller & Jo Chauvin
Time: Wednesdays 8-10pm
Dates: October 17-December 12 | No class Oct. 31 & Nov. 21
Location: ZACH Theater, 1510 Toomey Rd., Austin, TX 78704

Improv Singing 101
Instructors: Jillian Summar & Doug Ewart
Time: Mondays 8-10pm
Dates: Mondays 8-10pm | October 15-December 10 | No class Nov. 19
Location: ZACH Theater, 1510 Toomey Rd., Austin, TX 78704

Improv at ZACH *THIRD* Sunday
Comedy Graduation Showcase

Sunday, October 21, 2018

8pm Show featuring:

  • Special guest Kevlar: We're Bulletproof!
  • Merlin Works Improv 301 graduating students!
  • Merlin Works instructor troupe -- The Known Wizards.
  • On ZACH’s 230-seat Kleberg Stage (1421 W. Riverside Dr.)
  • Metered parking on site at ZACH

It's a long shot, but

Vote for Girls Girls Girls For Best Comedy Troupe in the Austin Chronicle

Did you know Shana Merlin, the founder of Merlin Works, is also a founder of Girls Girls Girls Improvised musicals? GGG would love your vote to help us win Best Comedy Troupe in the annual Austin Chronicle's Best of 2018 Awards! And TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE!

Here's how:

1) Open up the ballot by Clicking Here
2) Select "Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals" as Best Comedy Troupe on the ballot right now (it's on the first page!). 
3) Feel all supercharged and over-caffeinated in your heart for supporting a group of women who try really hard to make great comedy
4) Select as many other local favorites that you like
5) Click "Submit"

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and Alumni Facebook Group

Be a part of the conversation: Hear about auditions, upcoming events, and other opportunities when you are a member of the Merlin Works Student and Alumni Facebook Group. Find a troupe, get a buddy to go see a show with, or discuss your improv goals. Join now and start posting! 
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