I’d be surprised if I’m the first source of information for you, but if by some crazy chance you haven’t already heard, Tom Cruise was recently recorded screaming his head off. He had apparently already told the crew working on Mission Impossible 7 (which by the way, holy crap there’s been 7 of those movies? Good night Sally Sue Johnson!) his expectations about following COVID-19 protocol. What were his expectations? Uh – it’s pretty apparent, he uh… wanted people to follow the protocol. As evidenced in his freak out, the crew had not been living up to his expectations. Thus a Tom Cruise rant was eminent.
It was time to make it clear, if they don’t want to follow the rules, then they’re fired! I couldn’t resist talking about good old Tommy Boy. Awe man, I miss Chris Farley. Anyway, in particular I find it interesting, because I am a filmmaker, and I am also a father.
Just the past week I have been thinking a lot about being a Dad, and how quickly my children are growing up in front of me. I really don’t want them to think back on me and think “Man, all Dad ever did was yell at us.” Now, honestly, and I’m not saying this to brag, I’m not really the yelling type. It’s just not my style.
I’m a fairly relaxed human that also received a master degree in counseling. My opinion as such is that yelling brings very little to the table, aside from negativity. I have however, on occasion, lost my patience, and raised my voice more than I would have liked with my children. That’s something I would like to change. However, I’ll share why I’m conflicted with the Tom Cruise rant, in light of my thoughts on yelling.
I’ve also been trying to teach my children about yelling. They have a unique skill of screaming 97% of the time. It could be the cutest little kid thing you’ve ever heard, but it’s usually screamed. Just the other day I told them, there is never an excuse to treat anyone poorly, especially their brothers and sisters.
There is always a way to communicate with kindness. And I quote myself, “Even if your brother or sister breaks your favorite toy, you can still decide to respond in a calm way. Now, it’s ok to be upset, but screaming, hitting, hurting in any way, or putting cheese down their shirt, is not the way to handle the situation. This goes for Mommy and Daddy too. We shouldn’t be yelling or being unkind to anyone either.”
I could instantly see in my son’s face, he was thinking how he would retaliate if one of his favorite toys was broken. What I said next to them is why I’m conflicted about the Tom Cruise rant.
“One of the only times it’s acceptable to yell is if someone is in danger. If one of you are about to get hit by a car, Daddy’s going to yell. If you are about to get hurt or hurt someone else at home, I will yell, and that’s ok.”
I’ve been doing the Dad thing for 9 years now, and we have 5 kids. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve thought about this yelling thing a lot. Another thought I’ve had many times has been comparing the home environment to a work setting. I’ve thought, in this setting at home, I’m kinda the boss and the kids are kinda like the employees. Then I’ve listened to the way my wife and I are speaking to our children. There have been many times when I’ve thought “Man if I had a boss that ever spoke to me that way, I would have quit.”
Please understand, I’m not an anti-discipline kind of guy either. Kids need guidelines and discipline. Parents have to draw lines and stick to the rules they’ve set. We certainly don’t need any more entitled selfish people in the world. A life where kids have never learned discipline is clearly dangerous. That’s the breeding ground of entitlement.
They need to learn to develop their own self-discipline muscles as well. However, I do believe parents can always find ways to discipline their children in more positive ways. Yelling will bring more yelling. Treating your kids like crappy undervalued employees is not going to help them in any way. They may in fact someday quit, and not really care to have a relationship with you.
We need more leaders in companies that lead with kindness and patience, and the same goes for parents. I made a Personal Power Pact, P.P.P., (yes that again, and yes I’ve made a lot of those over the years) that when tempted to yell at my kids, I would instead whisper. Most of the time the content of what I was going to say when I am about to yell is fine. It’s not words, it’s the misplaced emotion of the words.
That’s where this balance of positive discipline comes into play. There comes a point when I need to tell one of my children to please stop doing whatever thing it is that they’re doing. Asking them to stop is fine, but yelling at them to stop isn’t needed. When I’ve remembered to whisper instead of yell, I’ve honestly found it way more effective. It’s like whispering in their ear holds some extra weight than just normal speech, and definitely better than yelling for everyone. There is not that heaviness of contention in the air with a whisper.
See why I’m conflicted? Tom Cruise was in fact yelling about something that has proven to kill people. It has made millions, me included, lose jobs, and the emotional consequences of it all will never be able to be measured. With that being said, I think maybe he was justified to yell a little. He’s trying to protect life and jobs. That was the same one reason I gave my children the ok to scream. Plus now we can all have our own little personal Tom Cruise rant in our pocket anytime we want it.
Now, do I think he could have managed to communicate the same thing without screaming? Yeah, I do. In that position, I really don’t think I would have been yelling and screaming. Especially with how I’ve been trying to better myself in that way the past several years.
I’ve also worked on some really negative and poisonous sets before. As cool as filmmaking is, if you’re surrounded by pure negativity, it doesn’t matter how cool the job is, you won’t feel great going home at night. It becomes something that you look forward to ending, rather than enjoying the ride.
And while I think we all have the power to thrive, even in negative situations (you know – this project is called I Will Thrive for craps sake) it’s just more fun to be in positive places. I’d rather be in positive places, even though I feel like I am well on my way to building the resiliency needed to thrive regardless of what’s happening around me. The positive sets I’ve worked on have been far more rewarding, and remembered. This is true even if I was making less, or in some cases making nothing!
Because of the experience I’ve had being on both positive and negative sets, I’ve made the promise on my films to have the most positive sets known in the industry. How sweet would it be to be known for that? What if everyone involved with making the movie felt like they were able to grow and become a better person as a result of making that movie.
When you make a movie, you are essentially running a little temporary company. I would hope the film executives would realize the impact they have for good in the world both with the media they create, but also in the lives of their employees. Work life is so much more fulfilling when the leaders don’t just see dollar signs but they try and bring meaning and kindness to those they work with.
I think it’s cool they’re managing to make a big movie like Mission Impossible right now. Hopefully it ends up being an overall more positive experience for everyone involved than the little freak out we witnessed. If not, share the I Will Thrive motto with those crew workers and maybe it could help them endure until the end of production. Wink wink.
VIDEO version of this episode HERE
PODCAST version of this episode HERE