What’s In A Name

Father and son learning to ride a bike!
“I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay
Awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems”

Fireflies– Owl City

That song brings joy to my ears because my son sings it. That song brings joy to my ears because he listens to it and engages me in philosophical discussions about how things aren’t always what they seem to be. At ten years-old he is a thinking, feeling person who examines the world around him. He looks at me and asks me about what I see and why, wants to know if I ever feel like I am alone or uncertain and I smile. I grab him in a giant bear hug and tell him that I have spent my entire life feeling like I am on the outside looking in.

He gives me a quizzical look and asks me to explain what that means and I tell him that sometimes I feel like people don’t understand me. You might think that this is too heavy for a ten year-old boy to absorb but I don’t. I don’t because I know my son and I know that he feels the same fire in his belly that I feel inside my own. And I see it as a teaching moment and I jump on it. When he tells me that he is not sure if he believes in G-d I don’t tell him that he must, I ask him what he thinks. The operative word in all this is thinks. I want my children to think.

This is critical to me. He will spend his entire life being told what to think and why. Trillions of dollars will be spent to convince him to think a certain way and to purchase certain products. The only way that I can protect him is to teach him to think for himself. So when I tell him about feeling like I am on the outside looking in I don’t see it as being damaging or wrong. Besides I tell him that sometimes I don’t feel that way. I tell him that one of the best parts of life is discovering others that get it. He smiles and nods his head.

We talk about labels and what they mean. We talk about what is in a name and how we define ourselves. I tell him that the most important definition/label is the one that we use for ourselves.

Within the blogosphere it seems that the mommy bloggers are always in an uproar about something. They don’t appreciate being told that they are a joke or that they don’t have value. I understand that. The moms work hard and they deserve recognition and appreciation for that. It doesn’t mean that I won’t criticize the angry mommy bloggers for acting foolishly. They can take it, or at least they should be able to. It is not like they don’t have organizations that look out for their interests and publications that focus on them.

I think that is great and I applaud their efforts. It would be nice to see more of them become successful and leave some of the drama behind but I don’t expect to see that happen. I don’t expect it to happen because I think that egos and a lack of understanding of how this business works will continue to create issues. Sometimes it is hard to look at other bloggers and understand why they are successful and you aren’t. Sometimes it can feel like they aren’t any better, just luckier. And the truth is that you are probably right about that.

Some of the “successful” bloggers aren’t particularly talented or smart. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than smart. Given the choice I would opt to have both luck and intelligence, and a dash of passion. Which reminds me of an interesting discussion about profit versus passion, but I digress.

Just before bedtime my son and I sat down to listen to some music. I told him to close his eyes and listen with his heart. I told him that I want him to find the things that make his heart dance. He nodded his head and we started laughing but I can’t tell you why. I just know that somewhere amidst the music we found silence and understanding. And when I kissed him good night I reminded him that the most important name we have is the one we call ourself.

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  1. Gina February 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Well, you invited me to dig so I picked one year ago to see what you were writing.

    Love this song and this post. You make it look easy. Thx

    • Jack February 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      I did invite you to dig and you are welcome to continue. I have had a lot of practice writing and I have great subjects to write about.

      I am lucky and grateful.

  2. Alexandra February 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    This is also, my son’s favorite song: he is 15. And this surprises me, that he’d love such a loving, gentle song.

  3. Clark Kent's Lunchbox February 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I put that song on my son’s ipod that I got him a couple weeks ago for his birthday. He’s already said it’s his favorite. (the video is quite cool too)

  4. Abby February 28, 2011 at 5:22 am

    You found The Right Words. Again.

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