Names, Relevance, and Celebrity Status

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My oldest daughter loves her name. And with good reason. It is also my mother’s name. A lady who plants miniature gardens for fairies, exudes the love of God in every breath, and goes by the self-proclaimed nickname “The Present Lady.” Yep, around here, it’s good to be a Meredith.

Coincidentally, our daughter’s kindergarten teacher also shares the same name. With long beautiful hair, a radiant smile, and overflowing joy that finds her skipping through fields with her class, this teacher wove her love into our hearts. At the end of the school year, she promised my daughter they could get together during the summer. A promise of which my daughter has sternly reminded me.

Tonight’s the night. Mrs. C and her husband are coming for dinner. My Meredith suggested the teacher might not want to wear her “dressy dressy dressy dressiest clothes” because they could impede her ability to get on the floor and play. My daughter is also hoping the teacher will suddenly remember she needs to go to the grocery store, invite my daughter to go along, then keep driving a few more miles directly to the school playground where they will play games together. These comments, along with a hundred other this week, let me know how firmly our daughter planted this teacher on a pedestal. She is nothing short of a celebrity.

Those who know me well know I have very little patience or respect for superstar celebrities and the attention they garner. I don’t care about red carpets, who is dating whom, or what restaurants someone favors. The money spent to style, promote, and entertain people based on their social status frustrates me, particularly in a world where children are uneducated and starving. Show me a person who is making a difference in the world, a real “celebrity,” and I’ll give them my respect. Mrs. C is doing just that: teaching, nurturing, and loving our children. She taught my daughter grace, respect, and kindness. She has worked with schools in Africa, coaches fourth-grade girls track, and is married to a fireman. This woman certainly didn’t sign up to be a celebrity! But through her own goodness, she is relevant.

According to Nobel Prize winner, Paul Krugman, being a relevant writer takes salesmanship. Unless one is powerful or famous, simply being interesting will not to encourage readers. Fine. Probably good advice. (If you’ve read this far, you’re either doing so out of kindness or boredom. Obviously, I’m no salesperson.) This article was sent to me at a time I was already questioning my own relevance: as one person wanting to change the world for good, as the only daughter of three who doesn’t live close enough to help if our parents needed it, as a homemaker who can’t seem to clean or keep things organized, as… Well, you get my point. I feel ineffective and irrelevant. Now I hear my writing also lacks relevance because it doesn’t have a “hook.”

Am I okay with that? I admit, I loved the buzz when a few hundred people read one of my posts. I started off sharing my heart and ended up blessing people I’ve never met. But I didn’t set out to become a famous writer. I just wanted to write for the pleasure of it. If one person walks away from a moment with me and feels uplifted, I’ve done something. Something relevant, perhaps?

With a new school year approaching, my daughter has been expressing concerns. She worries that people will make fun of her for a myriad of tiny concerns: there is a dancer on her shirt, she doesn’t run the fastest, she might have an “accident,” someone will know she sleeps with stuffed animals (coming from a girl whose mom still sleeps with a baby blanket, this is hardly a concern!). We spend a lot of time encouraging Meredith to ignore what people think, that what matters at the end of the day is that people remember Meredith is kind, she does nice things for others, and sticks up for anyone being picked on. Perhaps I need to swallow a bit of my own advice. I don’t need to be famous, Mr. Krugman. My blog simply needs to bless others.

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One response »

  1. This is great. First, I love your daughter’s teacher. She sounds magical and I love the relationship Meredith has with her.

    Second, I so agree w/ celebrity status! We pay people millions of dollars to entertain us. It’s awful.

    Third, I have the same struggles with blogging…for who? Me? Others? An audience? Does it make me feel validated when I’m read? What is the line b/t working hard to be successful at it and having a ‘ce la vie’ attitude? Still figuring all that out.

    But, in the grand scheme, all the little things have to add up, b/c sometimes it is all we are given to work with .Sometimes we just have the 2 talents, not the 10. But the one with the 10 (and the ones who are famous, have more readers ,etc ) will be more accountable for what they did.

    I think you are wise to be doing all you can w/ the number of talents you have. In God’s economy, it’s compounds over time and is ‘pressed down, shaken together, running over.’ Ripple effects in the kingdom!

    This is one blogger who is blessed by your blog! 🙂

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