Homecoming lecture: Listening is key, David Warner says


At seven years old, David T. Warner knew what he wanted to do with his life. One day, without telling his parents, he walked from Wasatch Elementary School to the Harris Fine Arts Center to audition for a KBYU role that required a child actor. He did some scenes with the director. When he returned home late that evening, he told his worried parents “they didn’t have to worry; I was now a movie star.”

Warner was one of many alumni professors to speak at BYU Thursday morning. He was a full-time professor of theater and media arts at BYU.

After the birth of his first child, Warner realized what artists and parents do is similar — they engage in work of creation. He was not talking only about earthly parents, but also heavenly parents.

“Creator of all things isn’t just an artist merely using his talents to express himself and make something beautiful,” Warner said. “He’s our Heavenly Father, using all his creativity and all his artistry to help us grow and develop and become.”

Great parents grow to serve their children, and great artists develop to serve others, Warner said.

Warner questioned what he could do to help him focus on his family while maintaining his creativity.

Our capacity to listen is key, he said.

“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand; ideas actually begin to grow in us and come to life when someone listens to us,” Warner said.

Listening is how we learn. Warner cautioned people against being too narrowly educated, saying, “people … who only know about their own discipline don’t have the breadth or the confidence to really climb into the world.”

For people to grow, he said they have to get out of their comfort zones and invest themselves deeply in areas of study they are not familiar with or not good at. The temptation is to say we don’t need that class or skill for the future. Students need to take their studies seriously now to prepare for the future, he said.

“We are going to have the opportunity to influence people from all walks of life, with every imaginable background and perspective,” Warner said.


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