PAM: Welcome. I’m Pam Laricchia from livingjoyfully.ca. And today I’m here with Katie Patterson. Hi, Katie!
KATIE:Hi there! How’s it going?
PAM: Very good. Very good and you?
KATIE:Oh, I’m pretty good, doing pretty good out here. It’s hot.
PAM: Oh nice. It’s cold here.
KATIE: It’s actually funny because New York is north east then California/L.A. is Southwest and so we’re literally on the opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s back in the 90s all the time. Which is fine by me because I actually used to live in New York a few years ago. I remember in 2011, they’re like this is the wimpiest winter ever. And I’m thinking, this is a wimpy winter? Holy crap I’m not going to survive a real one, I got to get out of here.
PAM: It’s so true! Just for a bit of context for people in case they recognize the last name, Katie is Sue Patterson’s daughter.
KATIE: I’m the other one. You had Alyssa on a few months ago, right?
PAM: Yeah. Yeah. We chatted with her. That was lots of fun.
KATIE: We look nothing alike! I look like my mom but Alyssa does not, she takes after my dad.
PAM: There you go. I was just going say your mom’s been on the podcast a number of times now. I’m really excited that you said yes to chatting about your experience growing up unschooling because, like you said, siblings are very different. They have different experiences. Everybody’s got their own interests and passions and everything. So, I’m really excited to dive into yours. Just to get us started.
Can you share a little bit about you and your family?
KATIE: Let’s see, I’m the second oldest in a cluster of three. And we come from a military family. So, we’ve been travelling around a lot. We sometimes call ourselves nomads. Particularly myself because if my dad was not in Kuwait at the time, I would have been born in Greensboro North Carolina but my mom didn’t want to have me by herself so she stayed in Dallas and then she went back to Greensboro. So, I didn’t really have a set place. So, I’m a nomad. That’s what I am.
As a nomad growing up what were some of your interests? You never went to school, right?
KATIE: Well, I went to kindergarten and then mom pulled me out for the first grade. She started homeschooling with my brother and then she decided you wanted to try it with her daughter as well.
I had little interests here and there like I had baking, I had some writing, I played hockey for a short period of my life, I played volleyball. The main interest and it’s actually interesting with this one because the main categories stayed the same but the subcategories change, the main category was performing. I love performing but it developed over the years. When I was really little, I wanted to do opera and then that changed into musical theatre and then I did that for close to a decade.
Then I discovered there’s this new aspect, film, I wanted to check out. And so, I started doing film acting and now I’m not only in front of the camera but also behind the camera with writing and producing. And so, it’s interesting to see it’s the same thing but at the same time how it progressed over the years. It’s really interesting.
PAM: Yeah. So, what were some of the things you did over the years, were you putting on plays and performances yourself, in your neighbourhood, with your family? Did you get involved in programs in the town or city where you guys were? How did you do that?
KATIE: I did a lot of community theatre. I did a lot of auditioning through that for a musical theatre. My mom she also had a little thing because she saw how much I loved theatre, she did a thing called Backyard Productions. We would have all the other unschoolers in our group, we would do these plays. I think it’s like Bad Wolf press or something like that where they had lots of different plays and we did things like Jack and the Beanstalk. I remember we did an at home impromptu Weather Channel thing with some friends. We thought this is going to be fun we’re going to put the camera on us, we’re going to do this.
PAM: Oh, that’s spectacular. Now that actually leads really nicely into the next question that I had here because we talk pretty regularly on the podcast about giving kids room to explore their passions fully. Even though sometimes it stretches our comfort zone because maybe it can feel like they’re so focused on one thing. What about the rest of the world? Or whatever kind of fear is rolling around in our head.
I’d love to hear your perspective on giving kids the space to pursue their passions.
KATIE: Honestly I am a huge fan of giving kids that space because if I honestly wasn’t given the space to explore, I probably would have just stuck with one genre which probably would have been musical theatre or opera and I wouldn’t have explored all these other genres of performing like with film and stuff like that. That’s something that I’ve noticed when I see parents are like, “They’re solely focused on this one thing. It is going to be their career for life.” That can change. If you force it into them. If you’re thinking, for instance, they’re into gardening so they’re going to become this great herbologist. I’m going to really dig into that. I know from my personal experience, if you dig into it there’s going to be some resistance and they are going to be like “No, back up, just back up. This is not cool. So, don’t force me to do this.”
In the end, it’s sad sometimes with that force and that friction it causes the child or anybody to lose interest and then they’re like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m going to go find something else.” It’s better to allow that freedom. That way they have a chance to explore. They may find they really like this, this not so much. Maybe they’ll go into this avenue of it instead.
PAM: Yeah. I think so often on one hand when we see our kids really interested in something we naturally justify to ourselves, thinking it can become a career. We can get locked in on that.
If we keep that focus, in my experience if we start, “Oh, what about this and let’s do this and let’s do this and let’s dive deeper into it.” You take that experience out of their hands. It becomes the parent’s thing because a parent is starting to direct it by saying, “Let’s do this because it’s going to be really good for you.”
KATIE: It’s very much like Rose from Gypsy, “Sing out Louise, sing out Louise,” that kind of mentality. The stage mom mentality doesn’t pertain to just the theatre. It can go to anything. If the parent is really pushing the kid and the kid is being very resistant, “No, I’m just trying this for fun. No, this is just something I like to do. Doesn’t mean I’m going to go into this for the rest of my life.”
My brother actually did a little bit of theatre as well, growing up. He did some with me because I did it and he thought he’d try it too. And he looked into it. He was originally going to look into being an actor as well. When he looked further into it he’s like, “You know what? This is not really my thing. I’m more into this other thing. So, I’m not going to do this anymore.” And luckily both my parents are like, “OK, that’s your choice. If you don’t want to do that anymore go ahead. And so, it ties into just allowing that freedom of letting the kids decide for themselves what their interests are, what is it that drives them. Because it could become a career. But at the same time, it could just be something that they just enjoy doing.
PAM: Yeah. Yeah. I love the image of treating it lightly, not as in not taking it seriously, but as in being curious of where it may go because it may take a total left turn on you or on the child.
I found it easier to approach it with curiosity. That helped me. I want to put in as much energy as I can to help the child accomplish what they’re trying to do. That was kind of my gauge for when I might be overstepping if I felt like I was pushing instead of lifting up.
KATIE: Yeah, exactly.
PAM: Can you see the difference in, I’m pushing you along or I’m lifting you up so that you can go in whatever direction you’re finding interesting at the moment? You do need to pay attention.
KATIE: Yeah, you have to pay attention to whether it’s your kid wanting this or if it’s you wanting this. Because there are parents that are just like “I really want them to go into this.” And the kid has absolutely no interest in that. And it’s an action and reaction. You’ve got to see what it is and if you start feeling some resistance, back off.
PAM: Yeah, yeah. And let’s take the opposite tack. When they’re really into something that the parent might be, confused isn’t the right word but might not be comfortable. That might be something that is also challenging for the parent to do. I think getting more involved so that you can see through the child’s eyes what it is a child’s getting out of it, that can help stretch your comfort zones too because so often it’s just stereotyped ideas of what that entails. You know if it’s something like parkour, my son was into that. The stereotype image of the kind of people who choose those things can be what’s getting in our way. Right?
KATIE: Absolutely. And I completely agree with you that if it is something that stretches a little bit of your comfort zone, first of all make sure it’s safe. If they’re not doing the knife game or something like that. (Laughing) But like for instance with my style of acting, 95 percent of the time I’m cast in horror or dark comedy or thriller or something where I’m covered in blood.
And my mom, it’s not in her comfort zone but she’s willing to explore it and just be, “I understand this is your world. I appreciate that you love it. It’s not my thing.” One time I had posted a picture of me, I came off the shoot where I was killing zombies and I’m covered in zombie blood. And she actually texted me going, “Why can’t you take nice pictures? Why are you always covered in blood?” (laughing) I don’t know!
But if she was completely resistant it would have been a lot harder for me to really explore that genre because I love the horror genre. There is actually an interview with Robert England who played Freddie Kruger where the question was asked Did horror choose you to did you choose horror” He’s like, “No, horror chose me.” I feel the same way because I grew up doing a lot of spooky stuff, Halloween was my favourite holiday. My mom and I would fight on when the Halloween decorations would go up. I’d always say right after Fourth of July she’s like “No. October 1st.” We’d always butt heads on that. And even in my adulthood, the creepiness factor still edged in because my wedding was a Halloween themed wedding where everybody came dressed in costume. I had Gandolf the White officiate my wedding. There was a lot of fun, not the traditional sense. My mom was like, “Katie are you sure? Are you sure?” “Yeah. This is what I want.” She was like, “OK as long as you’re happy.”
PAM: I saw some pictures that looked amazing. I remember seeing it on Facebook.
KATIE: But the point being, bringing it back around, allowing your kids to explore those avenues even if you aren’t comfortable, it could lead to something great. Like once again, it started as a spooky kid loving Halloween and now I make horror films. I act in horror films and stuff like that. Who would’ve thought?
PAM: Yeah exactly. It’s that little tweak, remembering that your kids aren’t you. I mean it’s easy to say but it’s hard to remember sometimes because we put ourselves in their shoes but then you got to remember, ‘They’re not me.’ They have different dreams. They have different likes. They have different dislikes. So, I can’t really put myself in their shoes. I have to imagine being *them* in *their* shoes. Now I can see why they love that. Now I can see why that wedding is so exciting for you. I’m sure your mom was doing that.
KATIE: I know she was doing that especially with the spooky stuff. Even with headshots she’s just like, “I love the ones where you are super smiley.” And I’m like, “That’s a commercial shot. If I do commercials which is few and far between. This is the better shot for what I want to do.”
Looking back now, what do you appreciate most about growing up unschooling?
KATIE: Oh, I would probably say the time that I got because with the time that I was allotted, I was able to really delve into those interests and really, really explore them. The people who were auditioning for community theatre, they loved me because I didn’t have a school schedule that I had to abide by. I remember I did Fiddler on the Roof when I was 13 or 14 at the time. And rehearsals would go to midnight sometimes 1:00 in the morning because it is a long show and they had to let some of these kids go early because they have to go to school and I’m like, “No, I don’t have school. I could stay late.” “You can stay late?!” “Yeah I could just sleep in morning.” “Oh my God. Yes!”.
So, it was an advantage for me as well as great for me to explore my interests and I got to explore different things that I liked. Once again, kind of tying into the figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. For instance, something that I did and explored and sure enough didn’t like, camping and hiking. I’m an indoor person. There’s a reason why I’m as pale as I am right now. I don’t go out in the sun. I’m a hermit. Camping for me is at a five star hotel. But it’s something that the rest of my family really loves and I do it whenever they’re going on a family camping trip. I’m like “OK. It’s not my thing but I’ll still do it.” I’m not the one that’s going, “Let’s go up camping in some remote cabin in the woods.” First of all, that’s how the serial killers get you. (laughing) I’ve seen Cabin in the Woods.
PAM: I have too.
KATIE: As you can tell, I’ll probably sneak in a lot of horror references. That’s my world.
PAM: My daughter brought those into our lives. Growing up, I was a big Stephen King fan but then I kind of faded out of that. That was something that I stretched around for a while because my daughter very much got into that kind of gory makeup and setting up scenes and there were dolls all rearranged and re-dressed. All sorts of things. So, we played around a lot with that too. So that’s really fun.
KATIE: I love it!
PAM: Yeah. Yeah. But I love that the idea of time right. Being able to have that space and that open time to just explore the things and you can find out all those details about yourself. You learn so much about yourself, don’t you?
I think my sister touched on this as well in her interview because I was actually listening to it yesterday, with the time that you’re allotted in unschooling you get to really explore yourself as an adult. And how you’re growing up, is this is how I function?
One thing I noticed for myself in particular is that in comparison to girls my age who went to high school, they were looking for relationships just to have relationships. Whereas if I was looking for a relationship which was few and far between. I was thinking, “Is this somebody I could spend the rest of my life with?” And so, I was actually really looking at them as a person rather than just, “I have a boyfriend. And he takes me to the movies and shopping. Blah Blah Blah.” That was never me. I was always like, “Oh, OK let’s see. Let me check your credentials.” I really do. I’d put that down to me exploring myself and figuring out who and what I wanted as a person.
I grew up faster. I feel like I matured faster than a lot of other kids my age. For instance, at 16 kids are like “I’m getting ready for prom.” Me, I had jobs. I worked three different part time jobs. And when I turned 18, I did college for five days a week. And then at 19 at the same time as doing college and working three jobs, I booked a movie. And people had asked me all the time, especially at that age and I hated this question, “Aren’t you sad you didn’t go to prom?” “No.” I was an adult by then. I was like I have three jobs. I going to college. I have a movie that I’m being paid to be a part of, I don’t have time to worry about things like prom.
PAM: I mean it’s true. And I think in one sense, in a bigger picture of society we really do. I’ve seen that meme going around, we want our little kids to grow up fast and then we want our teens not to grow up, not to get out in the real world and be doing real things. We just keep them under more control. So, I think that is such a great point because when you have the space to take on these things when you want to take them on, so often it’s earlier than what society typically has laid out for the plan for teens and young adults.
KATIE: Yeah exactly. And I feel grateful that I was given the space to really explore myself, really explore my interests and my life was great. I loved my life. I wouldn’t change anything about my life at all. I feel confident of myself as a person. And yeah, there’s still some stuff I’m still learning about myself because you’re always learning. There’s never a time when you’re not learning.
I feel like, in comparison especially in my early 20s and in my late teens, I feel like I had a better grasp of what I wanted and who I was compared to a lot of people who were in school and conditioned to think this is what society wants me to be.
PAM: I want to grab on to that because that is such a great point about how we change as people. And I think having that space to see that in ourselves over the years. To recognize that I like this thing and this interest then morphed here and then I was no longer interested and I found this instead. To be able to see and understand happily that these changes happened to us, I think is also a valuable thing to bring into adulthood because without that, as adults we can feel like a we chose this career path and oh look we’re getting into the next question but we chose this career and then we feel bad or as if we failed if we choose something. But having had the space and time to realize that we change as people and that’s okay that that’s a positive thing. We’re now learning something else about ourselves. Like you said, this is not something that stops. We are always learning about ourselves. Right?
KATIE: Yeah. Like I mentioned before, the thing was Robert England and the epiphany of my own that horror chose me. That was actually something I learned six months ago. A lot of parents don’t realize, they feel like once you hit the age of 18 or 20 or 21, they should know who they are by now. They should know their life goals, their plan. I’m still learning stuff about myself. It wasn’t until about six months to a year ago where I’m like, ‘You know what horror is the genre for me. I’m getting cast in horror.’ I want to lean into that myself instead of trying to split myself into many different things, stuff that could work but doesn’t work or stuff that is not right for me at all. Or stuff that just does not speak to me as a person.
And so, it’s you’re always learning. Even as adults even in your 30s, heck even in your 80s. I remember reading a new book by Elizabeth Gilbert. Big Magic. There was some 80 year old woman who had studied this thing for 10 years. I can’t remember what it was with some sort of pottery thing. I think I can’t remember correctly. But she’s like “I learned this thing when I was 70 took me 10 years, I am now an expert. It changed my life.” You’re still learning stuff even at 70, 80, 90 years old, you’re still learning stuff. And you can change as a person because who knows maybe in my 40s I’ll decide that I’m going to put acting aside. I’m going to focus on more producing or maybe I’ll take the handles with directing or become a costume designer or something. You’re always learning, you’re always changing. That’s how humanity is you’re always developing and you’re always changing with what’s your environment and what’s going on. Sometimes it’s for the better sometimes you try it on you’re like you know what? ‘This was a bad idea. I’m going to go back to that other thing.’
PAM: But that’s the whole point. Exploring, we’re exploring the world, we’re exploring who we are, we’re exploring how we mesh together. A lot of parents here are exploring the idea of unschooling and how that can work for their family and that changes things up. So, that’s really interesting.
Now speaking of, I wanted to touch on the career paths thing. Because with acting and stuff and because there are definitely career paths. You know you always hear, “No I don’t want you to be to be an actor. Because it’s not a stable income.” You’ve got a great job for a little while but then you know the show ends or the movie is done. So, it’s not what some parents dream. They want that reliable income, a stable life for their child. So, I was curious what your experience has been with that so far.
Have you had a lot of people questioning that choice? Wondering if you going to just try this out for a couple of years and then you’ll go do something else if it doesn’t work?
KATIE: I’ve had a few people here and there, especially in my early days, earlier in my career, where they’re like, “What’s your plan B? What do you do if you don’t get work?” And here’s my thing and I think my mom actually talked to you a little bit about this as well.
I’m not a believer in Plan Bs. I believe that if you focus on Plan B, you’ll lose sight of Plan A.
An analogy that I always had in my head is think of your life as a boat or a ship. Getting from where you are to your destination is Plan A. Plan B is if the ship sinks. If the ship sinks you go into survival mode and you figure out what you need to survive. Plan B is just survival mode and if I need to figure out a survival mode then I’m going to figure out what I need then. That’s cool. But for me, I feel like if you focus on a plan B and you’re thinking, ‘I need that security net. I need that Plan B. What if it doesn’t work? I need this. I need this.’ You’re going to lose sight of Plan A and you’re going to be so focused on it that Plan A will just become a figment of your imagination essentially.
My friend gave a podcast and the initial point of the podcast is that imagine if there was somebody who’s really talented, for instance a celebrity or somebody who is in the business world and people were going up to them going. “You’re really talented. You are really great at this. Why don’t you pursue this?” And they’re like, “Oh, I like this but I need to focus on just the bills. If I have time, I’ll do this. But then they focus on making Plan B, on paying rent and stuff like that which is not something to ignore, pay your rent. But I’m saying if you lose focus on Plan A look at that. If this celebrity had chosen to just worry about paying the bills instead of focusing on plan A, we might not see them in the public eye. They may not have risen to become the great people that they are or they were if they’ve passed on.
And so, for me, Plan B is survival mode. I focus only on planning A. Plan B is only if absolutely needed.
PAM: I think that’s a great way to look at that because you know Plan A is really pursuing your dreams. Those are the things that you really want to do, that you love to do. And as you were saying, making that work for paying rent or food but you’re setting up your life that way too. You’re also choosing when you’re not making a lot of income with your dream kind of work, you’re choosing you smaller places where your rent is less. You know what I mean? You’re maybe doing a part time job here there.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t do the things that you need to do to live but if you start planning a lot for the backup, I think you’re right that often takes over because it feels safer.
KATIE: Exactly. And that’s another thing I want to touch on because Plan A, your dreams and your stuff, it’s uncomfortable. It’s an uncomfortable space to be in for both parents and kids. I have had so many panic attacks and nights where I stay up and I’m scared that this has happened. I actually have a fear not only a failure but I have a fear of success as well. Where I’m like, my life is going to change in this way. And if it does change this way and what if I’m not able to handle it and I fall. The higher the person the more dramatic fall.
I remembered talking to one of my best friends in college. I remember talking to her about it and she’s like, “It scares you?” “Yeah.” She’s like, “Good, that means you care about it.”
And that just stuck with me and so anytime I feel uncomfortable or I feel scared about something, I recognize that fear is there and that means I care about it. I’m not going to let it direct me. But it means that is a really important thing for me and I’m heading in the right direction.
PAM: Yeah, yeah. And I love the point too about survival mode because that’s another thing I think you get with unschooling where you’re making choices for your own life right.
And sometimes things go wrong. It’s not that unschooling is la la la life is perfect or anything. But you learn that in those moments when something goes wrong, you can find the ABC thing that you need to do in this moment. You build up that trust in yourself that you can take care of yourself when something happens. Because that’s life.
KATIE: And I think that’s something that a lot of parents don’t think, especially whether it’s conscious or subconscious or not, they don’t know they’re thinking if I put my kids in school that’ll prepare them for those things like time management or survival skills. But that’s instinctual.
Survival mode is an instinctual thing since the dawn of time. And it’s not something that you are taught. It’s something that you just have. That’s just a part of you. And I invite parents to really understand that. They know that if they’re failing, that deep down they may have panicked a little bit. I’ve had my panic scares. But deep down they know what are the core roots of what needs to be done in order to survive.
PAM: Exactly, exactly. And I think that’s something that as you gain experience it becomes easier because there are down times in life, right?
So, you made it through. Sometimes you don’t even know how you’ll get through but eventually you realize that it’s happened three or four times, not the same thing probably but somethings happened and you’ve gotten through it. You know you can step up and figure something out. Over time you get more trust in that as well, because you’ve had those experiences. And we lived together through them. You know what I mean? We’re not hiding them when they happen. We’re not trying to scare our kids either but you share what’s going on, at their level.
PAM: Exactly, exactly. So, everybody is living together having those experiences and building up that kind of understanding and trust in themselves that they can figure a way through even if they don’t know what it is now.
I’d love to hear what you’re working on right now.
KATIE: What I’m working on right now, I am actually depending on when this podcast goes out.
I am working on a crowd-funder for a horror short film that I have written. The crowd-funder is going to launch on September 24th and go until October 24th. So, 30 days. I wrote it. I’m going to be acting in it, I’m producing it. Not directing it because that’s actually something I’m like, “I’m good. I don’t need to try that yet.”
But I’m really excited about it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot of spooky stuff. I’ve been working on the script for over a year now. And so, it’s really exciting. We’re trying to raise $25k which is, in the film business, really small. Like, really, really small. In real life, it’s like, “AHH!” But I have confidence in my team. I’ve got confidence in myself. I’m like, “Okay, I’m spearheading this campaign. Cool. Let’s go.” That’s a lot of what I’ve been focusing on for the past month, prepping for the campaign and getting it ready for our launch date.
PAM: Yeah, that’s so much learning. Even there. Right? Learning all about funding.
KATIE: I’ve done crowd-funders before but just as a team member. I’ve never spearheaded crowd-funders before. So, this is a brand new experience for me. Once again, you’re still learning, even nearing 30. I’m two years shy of being 30 and I’m still learning new things with my work and with my life and the kind of person I am. So, it’s a brand new experience.
PAM: And you wrote it. That’s cool. I didn’t know that part.
KATIE: I wrote this thing. It’s funny, I actually originally wrote one of the scenes as something for my reel as an actor. And then I went to my producer Savvy and I’m like “Hey Savvy, What do you think of this? Does it need tweaking.” She said, “This is good. This would actually make a really interesting short film.” I thought, ‘Challenge accepted!’ Let’s see what happens if we develop this story. And I developed it. I cut some stuff out and now it’s this 10 page glorious script about a man who comes home to find his stalker waiting for him with dinner in the oven.
PAM: Oh, that’s definitely a nice, creepy set up.
KATIE: It is! And I love it!
PAM: Oh, that’s spectacular. The episode will go out during your window. So, I’ll be sure to share in the show notes all the links for people if they want to check it out.
KATIE: Check it out and if you can share it on your social media, that would be awesome. Like I say I’m like pitch video, this is the one time you can be a stalker and it will be OK.
PAM: So, there’s one question that I love to ask all are grown unschoolers.
As a grown unschooler, what piece of advice would you like to share with unschooling parents who are just starting out on this journey?
KATIE: It involves a lot of listening. Listening to your child, listening to yourself and figuring out our limits and, ‘Is this my discomfort or is this my child’s discomfort?’ It’s a lot of listening and also learning to let go and learning to let your child explore on their own. If they need help, they’ll come to you for help.
You don’t have to helicopter mom—or helicopter dad if you’re an unschooling dad. Understand that they can figure it out and if they need help, they’ll come to you.
The second thing, and I say this in seriousness as well as not so seriousness, the TV is not an evil entity. Do not fear the talking box. It is not going to eat you in your sleep. Because—a fun fact about me and why I bring it up and because it does tie into me as a person and me in my career and stuff like that—I didn’t really talk until I was nearly 4.
When I say I didn’t really talk, I mean I didn’t speak in full on sentences or speak spontaneously about how I feel and stuff like that. What I did was I would watch movies and if a line brought forth a certain emotion and later in the day if I felt that emotion, I would repeat that same line that brought forth the same emotion because that’s how I connected it. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. And I was very grateful because my parents got it, they could have very easily been like, “No, don’t do that. That’s weird. That’s not a normal thing.”
Instead, we turned it into a game that we played at dinner where we would quote movies and we would have to guess what movie we were quoting. And we would just play for hours. We would have dinner and then we’re like, “Okay, it’s time to play with movie quotes. Who’s got the first quote? Who can out quote everybody else?” I won a lot of the times, but at the same time, because of that I was able to develop my memorization. At that very young age of about three and a half, nearly four.
And then it turned into my memorization of scripts as an actor and memorization of emotions and it’s learning how to push different buttons to bring forth the emotion organically or as one of my acting teachers told me, “living truthfully in imaginary circumstances.”
And that thing that could have been seen as a defect, that could have been seen as a great fault, ultimately turned into what I am now. I make a career out of memorization and attaching it to emotion.
PAM: I love that story, Katie! Thank you very much for sharing it. Because that’s the thing we were talking about before too, right? Being open to our kids and seeing our kids through their eyes instead of through our lens. Like you were talking about the judgment of thinking this is weird. This is something wrong. This is something we need to fix. Embracing the child for who they are because like you said you don’t know. And it doesn’t need to be that it turns into a career.
KATIE: That’s just what happened. That’s just what happened and we were open to the possibility that something that could have been turned into a detriment turned out to be one of my great strengths. It’s actually something I’m still really good with. I’m really good with memorizing stuff. I always remind my mom about things she has said. She doesn’t remember. I remember!
PAM: No matter what, if there’s something they’re interested in or some way that they’re seeing things, we don’t need in that moment to understand why. It may be 10,15 years looking back where we realize what they were getting out of it.
And we don’t even have to know ever. But what’s important is that it’s really important to them in that moment. Right?
PAM: Yes. And that’s how they’re engaging with the world.
KATIE: And another thing and I’ll probably close out on this one because I don’t know how much time we have left. When it is something like my memorization and stuff added. Don’t look at it as like this is a big detriment. ‘This is a big fault. This is a red flag or that this is bad. This is wrong. This is not normal.’ Embrace it is a trait, this is who they are. This is what makes them a person. They may grow out of it. They may develop into something else. It may stick with them. Who knows? But really embrace that. It’s like OK this is what my kid is dealing with. We’re going to deal with this. We’re going to figure out if the kid needs help or if I just let it be or if I helped develop it into something else, into something that’s good.
Don’t always think the negatives. Try to make it a positive.
PAM: Yeah. And that’s all part of just supporting them and being with them because you know what, if at some point they are starting to feel like it’s a negative and they want more help. Absolutely.
KATIE: Exactly. And that’s actually something I’ve seen a lot. I used to teach dance in my age group of 16 months to 7 years old. Kids learn like sponges and so if you teach them that something is a bad thing, they’re going to grow up thinking this is a bad thing. And it’s action and reaction.
And you just remember that they learn, they pick up on a lot of things and if they learned something as a negative it takes a long time to unlearn that. I actually heard a long time ago that it takes a person hearing something positive 20 times for them to believe it. But if you hear one thing that’s negative that it’s only one time and your brain processes it like this is the truth. It takes a lot more positive than it does negative.
PAM: Yeah, that’s such a great point. And I love what you said. Because there’s so many ways you can just incorporate that into their life. Embrace that this is who they are. I love that you guys ended up playing movie quote games with it.
Yeah, embrace it. I always talk about playing with things. There are always different ways to look at things. There are always different ways to do things. If that playing quote game didn’t catch on, you’d find a little something else to do. Maybe it’s just memorizing different things. Because whatever the reaction, what people didn’t like about the quote game would be more clues to what it really was. That was super interesting for you. When we’re choosing things, we’re choosing things for a reason, we’re doing things for a reason. And if it’s not conscious per se, or a little kid who’s not going to be able to say, “Well, you know, I like this.” You can still watch them and put different things in their path and do different things with them to be able to put together the various clues and find what they like a little bit more. It’s like a puzzle. It’s a really super fun puzzle of figuring out someone that you love.
KATIE: Exactly. I actually love puzzles. I love that analogy.
PAM: Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today, Katie. I had so much fun!
KATIE: Thank you and thank you for having me. I’m glad that I got to share my perspective.
PAM: Oh, that’s awesome. I’m really happy to chat with you too and I’m happy that people will get to hear it and have the link to your short film fundraising as well.
So, before we go where might people get in touch with you online? I’ll have the link to the fundraiser. Do you have a Facebook or something?
KATIE: I am really active on Twitter and you can find me at Actor Katie P. You can find me on Facebook but I’m actually at my limit of friends you could probably message me but I’m at my limit of friends. So, probably Twitter is the easier place for you to find me.
PAM: OK. That’s awesome I’ll make sure I have that there too. Well, thank you very much again and have a great day. Bye.
KATIE: Thank you, bye.