Part II features Tom discussing his Scientology beliefs, his children, and his plans for this holiday season. Look for Part III coming your way soon!
Q-What does Scientology mean to you?
Tom: It’s well known I’m a scientologist, and that has helped me to find inner peace in my life. And it’s something that has given me great stability and tools that I use, and it’s also something that’s enabled me to help others in a way that I’ve always wanted to. Something substantial. You know, in Scientology, we have study technology that is applied and really enables a person to educate themselves, so they can become literate. We have “Narcanon” that rehabilitates criminals. It’s the most successful drug rehabilitation program in the world that has helped hundreds of thousands of people get off drugs and live a drug free life and go back to society and actually have happiness, and not feel that they have a disease, but are very able. So there’s a lot of things in my life, that through that they’ve given me that inner peace. Most definitely. Yeah, it’s really helped me. Thank you.
Q- I’ve just got two very quick questions. Tom: I’ll give you two very long answers, I’m sorry.
Q continued- What do you want for yourself at this point of your life?
Tom: What do I want? I want a world without war. I want a world without insanity. I want to see people do well. And I don’t even think it’s as much as what I want for myself, it’s more what I want for the people around me. That’s what I want. I really want to see the end of drugging children throughout the world as a solution to improper education. And that’s what I want. I want people to have tolerance. And those are the things I work toward with the literacy programs that we have where people who are homeless come in and for free they learn these study tools and they go out and start getting jobs, and able to raise their kids. Children that come in who are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia and they’re put on drugs, lethal drugs, so we help them, through a doctor, come down off these drugs. And we give them these study tools, and suddenly they’re A students.
I think in society we’ve reached a point where education is about learning as testament to memorization, and not to the ability to take in data, or information, and differentiate that data so that you can then think about it and go out and apply it in your life, and get a job, be happy, have a family. It’s about memorization, and you look at today’s society where corporate America is having to re-train people out of college because they are (not capable). So, with false data and wrong solutions, and now drugging these children, things are complicated. So those are the things I’m working to stop happening.
Q- What do the holidays mean to you and your family? Traditions?
Tom: I can cook. What do I prepare? I’ve cooked turkeys in my day, but when Mom’s around I let her do that, you know? My mother is a great cook, fried chicken, you know, Southern. Great, Great cook. And when she’s around I like her stuffing best, her turkey. I like having lots of… I like lots of kids. I live with my sister and her three kids, and so the more kids, the more friends and family and anyone who wants to come and hang out, I enjoy that. Some of my fondest memories as a child growing up were those big Christmas’s with cousins. And I remember, I’d say one of the best Christmas’s as a kid is when, a time that we just, we didn’t buy each other stuff. We actually, my mother came up with this idea to pick names out of a hat and you had to do something special for that person every day for a month leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Day you had to write a poem or a story for that person. And you can’t reveal who it is. So all five of us were running around, I’d be, I had one of my sisters so I had to go and make her bed when she was in the shower. But you can’t get caught by everyone else. So it was fantastic. Then Christmas Day came and we each got up and said who we had and a story. I loved that. I loved that. It was, my mother was very much, you know, we would go to nursing homes to help people around that time. And she was very much supportive and encouraging to help others. You know, really what is a life if you’re not contributing to society, and really doing something to help someone. Yeah, I’ll be going home, we’ll be having a great time. The kids, everybody, we’re going to do a lot of things. Lot’s of turkey.
Q- How do you explain war to your children?
Tom: I say to them, what do you think about it (war) and how do you feel about it. You look at war, and the things I try to do is educate them to a broad sense of history and a broad sense of different cultures, different beliefs, and I teach them to really learn about them and respect others. (inaudible) It’s conflict. Unfortunately, conflict does exist. Why are there wars? Why is this going on? I took them to the “Museum of Tolerance”, and they learned about the Civil War here in this country. There are times you have to make a stand for what is right, but you have to do it from a position of true knowledge and not from “might is right”. And I think that’s how I teach them, that they don’t have to agree or contribute to that. And I work with them and with people to educate them.
Illiteracy is the great barrier in the world. It’s really the basic conflict, if you have people that don’t understand what other people are saying, now I’m mainly talking about speaking different languages, because that’s just apparent and obvious. But there’s no communication. How can there be understanding without communication? We can all be in this room here together and if someone doesn’t understand or misreads or doesn’t know what I’m talking about, you could take it and do a whole different thing. Now all of a sudden, there’s conflict….You know, somebody’s saying that I said this, he said that- now there’s conflict.
It really comes down to the basic tools of what we work on, of how someone can educate themselves. It really comes down to three barriers- there’s the misunderstood word, too steep a gradient, and a lack of mass. And these are the tools (L.Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology) found out actually; he was an educator, he was educated in the Navy and he fought in World War II, and he taught in the Philippines. And he taught, he was just a teacher, a great teacher. And he figured out why people were illiterate and why there are wars, why there is conflict. And it comes down to-so many times I find if there’s a problem on a set, people will say, ‘why don’t you fight with your directors, how come you don’t?’ I really don’t have problems with people. I find out what’s going on. Where’s the misunderstanding? What happened here? You communicate and you find out what happened. And I find that resolves it; it is the universal solvent- communication. But sometimes there are stiff barriers there. I think my kids are really forming an understanding of that, because they learned that in their own life, on a very basic level of when they have a problem, just getting them to communicate as to what happened and why and it resolves itself. So it seems very simple, and you know what? It really is simple.
Q- Tell us about how you relate to kids so well?
Tom: I love kids. I’ve always, I was a kid myself once. I actually am still a big kid, really. I taught at YMCA’s when I was a kid. I just love children and I find it very easy to communicate with them. I don’t talk down to kids. I’m not authoritarian with children. I’ve actually found giving them respect and dignity and asking them what do they think about something is better than ordering them. So I find out what do they want to do. Playing games and working with kids a lot of times is wonderful.
I love that scene where Magojiro, the young boy goes (whispers inaudible)…. And it’s what’s not said, and it’s behavioral. You’ve got to find those moments, you can’t write those moments. Its, acting a lot of time is, you understand the structure, the scene but you’ve got to play jazz within that structure. And have prepared well enough, and be skilled enough to just let it happen and find those moments. You know with Magojiro I’d go to the big wheel, he doesn’t speak English, and so I would just draw pictures. And we would draw pictures to each other back and forth and we had a wonderful communication together. And so I started doing this all the time, I’m going… you know like this, and he started imitating me, making all these things and he just… that’s how I am with children- I just talk to them. And I find that it’s beautiful. I just listen to them and acknowledge what they say. I find, especially with children that they want to contribute, even when they come in and they mess up the work, and I’m busy, but they’re trying to help out. Still, I always say thank you, you know. That’s how I am with them, and I find that they’re happier and I’m happier as a result of that.
Q- What did you draw (on the big wheel)?
Tom: We were drawing whatever, you know, helicopters. And I found out he wants to be, wants to fly airplanes, and he liked that I flew airplanes. So we were drawing each other airplanes back and forth. And he just, he’s just a character. He is just an absolute character, wonderful. That’s also when you look at Ed, Ed’s directing English and Japanese, very complicated scenes effortlessly. I was excited the first day of rehearsal to meet the Japanese actors. Ed had met them, and I was really excited to meet them, and I was like ‘What’s it going to be like?” And I wanted to learn more about their culture. And you find that, you just find you have so much in common. It was great fun, great fun.
Q: How does your communication help with your children, Penelope, and your ex-wife?
Tom: It helps in all areas of my life. As an actor, with my kids, with Penelope, with Nic, with my job, in all areas. When you’re happy, life is easier to deal with. And it’s not less interesting, it’s definitely challenging and exciting. So my relationship with my kids, you know, that’s always been wonderful, but you know it grows and it gets better. It does help when you have a parent who’s happy and there, I see it in them. So, it’s not just the success of a film that is my basis for happiness, you know? It is really a pleasure in life, a pleasure in my work, a pleasure with my kids, where I’m there with them. With Penelope, with people that I’m with, I find it’s wonderful.
Look for Part III of “In-Depth and Personal” with Tom Cruise soon.