As a film director my job is to make difficult decisions. How do you know which is the right one and wrong one? How do you stand stand strong in your decision when everyone around you is saying you are wrong?
You don’t get there overnight. Let’s look at something that happened to me recently. Not on set, but in my own house.
The Teenage Cousin
For the last couple of days I had one of my teenage cousins staying at our place. As we had other guests he was sleeping in my bedroom.
He is a big time game addict, who frequently gets into bouts of shouts and swears with his fellow players online. Which is cool by me, except not when I want to sleep. So I had instructed him to play outside, for however long as he wanted and only to come into the room when he wanted to sleep. I had to get up early the next morning.
In spite of repeated requests he refused to stop playing or leave the room. So the next day I told him straight he is never to sleep in my room again and told him to sleep in the dining hall.
When Parents Turn Against You
My parents were dead against my decision. My father said I should learn to adjust when we have guests. Was I being selfish? Acting out of hatred? Seeking revenge?
It was already hard for me to ask him to sleep in the hall. There was no A/C. And it had been really hot these few days. When on top of that my parents hinted that what I was doing was wrong, I was confused further.
I thought long and hard about it. I analysed my reasons for my decision.
Analysing The Reasons
I had no qualms of sleeping without an A/C. I opened all the windows and decided to sleep just like how I was forcing my cousin to.
I had explained to him in clear words what was expected of him. I had no issues with him gaming all the time. In fact he was in my bedroom for a good hour before we went to bed, playing, shouting and I was working. Hence it wasn’t unclear communication from my part.
I was angry in the moment I made my decision. But not for a second the next day. Hence I wasn’t doing it entirely out of hate or to exact revenge.
But I wanted him to know that actions have consequences. That if he is unwilling to follow a clearly stated request, it will be met with consequences. That my bedroom is my private space and one had to learn to respect another’s space.
The same day our whole family was late for a family function by over an hour because he was unable to stop playing. Only when we were all fully dressed and ready to leave did he decide to take a shower and get ready. So I knew he also had to learn to self regulate his needs to be in sync with others around him.
Standing Strong in Your Reasons
Reasoning so gave me the courage to stand strong in my decision, against the stiff opposition and blaming I heard from my parents. He slept in the dining hall that night.
The next day morning, I explained to him all the reasons why I did what, just like you read above. Which I learned was also an important step. And then I let him sleep in my room. And no, I do not believe he is all of a sudden going to become a perfect adult. But that’s okay. We don’t expect a baby to start walking the moment they try.
More than anything what I loved is the small step that I took to stand for what I believed is right. I did not learn how to do this all of a sudden either. We will look at one of the major instances where I learned how to in the next post.