The problem with having kids that you would like even if they weren’t your kids is that they invariably are involved in fascinating things that seem very interesting when they tell you about them and then you find yourself adding things to your “I want to read that”, “I want to listen to that”, “I want to do that”, and “I want to watch that” lists . I feel like at least once a week my lists get bigger because of a conversation with Noah or Adam. Here are two examples:
EXAMPLE #1 – NOAH
Thanks to Noah I am now trying to make it through the Naruto series. The problem with this is that there are around 700 episodes of Naruto. I’m not exaggerating here. There are seriously 700ish episodes. I find the story very interesting so I end up fitting a couple of episodes in to my schedule every day. Thankfully they are short. Still I would have never considered watching this if Noah hadn’t said “Dad, I think you would like this” and then watching a few episodes with him before thinking I should watch from the beginning. Hopefully in the year 2030 I will have finished the series.
Why, you might ask, am I so fascinated with this cartoon (okay technically it is anime)? It is because one of the overriding themes of the series is how the characters’ actions, and often mistakes, are directed by their unrecognized internal struggles. This is something I deal with all the time as a pastor and chaplain. Naruto strives to be respected because of the disdain that he felt in the past and this striving controls him. He usually isn’t director of his own actions, but merely responding to unexpressed emotions. He isn’t alone in this, most of the characters in the series are similar. They are portrayed as incredibly strong and yet they are very often the mere puppets of their own unaddressed emotional needs.
EXAMPLE #2 – ADAM
Adam posted the following video in our ongoing family chat.
It is a fascinating TED talk concerning using the natural tendency of art to direct our attention to cause us to focus on other elements and viewpoints. Susan Sontag in her book “On Photography” writes about this same phenomenon within photography (ht Brad W). A painting, or photo, shape how we see a subject and therefore very often shapes how we view history. Titus Kaphar, the artist in the video above, discusses using art to change our focus on a subject. So now, thanks to Adam, I’m trying to learn more about this. I finished reading Angie Thomas’s book “On the Come Up” last night, preached in a majority people of color congregations Saturday, and then watched the above video this morning and all have me thinking.
Thanks guys. You both keep me busy. When you add in all the things I end up reading and observing because of Pam and Clive (I read more than I care to admit about Basset Hounds and I am fairly sure that the only reason I have Instagram is to look at Basset Hound photos) it is a surprise that I ever get anything done.
SIDE NOTE – for a very interesting discussion concerning “the complicated and nuanced history” of plantations in America and the continued influence that history has you should consider to Backstory’s episode “The Long Shadow of the Plantation.” As a result of this podcast episode Pam and I may head to Wallace, Louisiana to explore Whitney Plantation (and then, of course, go to Baton Rouge to visit with friends we love).