By: Sandy Churchill
This Sunday at church, a blast of twangy fiddle music blasted just a few minutes into the Mass. The country hoe-down tune made me smile, not just for the peppy burst of unexpected cell phone music, but when I glimpsed the owner of said cell phone: a sweet, quivery octogenarian who seemed only a tad embarrassed at the cellular faux pas.
Frail in stature, with skin as finely lined as creased parchment paper, she was clearly a lady who was on in years. So why was I surprised at her fiddle-tuned ring tone? Because the jaunty music spoke of a boots-and-jeans-clad, line-dancing gal—not this fragile-looking, slightly-hunched figure who looked more like a Lawrence Welk fan.
The lessons here? For me, this was a wonderful reminder not only not to “judge a book by its cover” but a delightful celebration of our differences in personal preference, personality, and style.Instead of “fitting in” or “mainstreaming” our favorite colors, clothing, seasons, hobbies, movies, and books, why not celebrate the amazing spectrum of skills, talents, and preferences person to person?
My now-13 year-old son continues to study karate and piano, write his own stories and novel plots, participate in Boy Scouts, Dungeons & Dragons, and Debate Club, and review books and movies for his own cable TV show. He is a “Renaissance Man” through and through and we love seeing his eclectic interests evolve. In scouting, he loves to camp, kayak, launch rockets, and hike. But with his debate crowd, he is all about the art of argument and politics. In piano he focuses on calm practice and enjoyment of the music. And his writing passion occupies many a conversation about fantasy adventures or mystery plot twists as he pens his way through his latest story.
The fun for us as parents is glimpsing the quirky twists and turns of each interest and the many facets of his personality. This reminds me to enjoy such multi-faceted interests in others and enjoy those mystery hobbies as they unveil themselves. In short, we are more than we seem. All of us are more complex than a surface glance would reveal—social media and all.
Those Facebook posts may indeed give us a chance to showcase a hidden hobby or lesser-known interest. But maybe not. Perhaps we all need a little more time and a more open heart and mind to get to know each other—and discover some amazing surprises along the way!