The Joy Of Not Having To Explain
I was desperately trying to get my kids out the door of a friend’s house the other day. We were all having so much fun, but I had to get home to attempt some “social marketing.” Just as we were about to leave, I took out my phone and my friend asked if she and her kids could see Kalley’s Machine, our family’s first interactive story. Well, Ok, I guess.
Watching people react to Kalley’s Machine, for me, is very similar to watching them look at our family photo in the church directory a few years ago. When the church decided to do a photo directory, Jon happened to be in his “wads of cash” phase, where he held up money in every SINGLE picture that anyone took of him. Normally, he just posed with whatever cash he had in his pockets. Picture a white guy trying to look gangsta by holding up two dollars, while posing with a bride and groom. It was like that. All the time. But given the opportunity of an Olan Mills church photo shoot, he stopped at the bank to get ninety singles and a ten to wrap around them (because it was ‘all about the Hamiltons’). The bewildered lady taking our picture had to ask him several times to move the cash out of the baby’s face.
Later, when the church directory was published, there was quite a range of reactions to the “A” section: awkward silence, concern (“Um, Carrie, why is Jon is holding up money in your church picture?”), mild amusement, and occasionally, delight. We really just did it to make something mundane a little more colorful. But it also had the interesting side effect of tuning us in to kindred spirits who shared our opinion that church directory photos are a wonderfully unexplored medium for self-expression.
We’ve been trying to rethink our priorities as a family the last few years. And in light of those priorities, we’re experimenting with our lifestyle to see if we can shape it more instead of letting it shape us. RocketWagon is part of that experiment. We want to make meaningful stuff and spend more time together. We want our kids to learn some real-world artistic and business skills by being involved, even at their young ages.
However, experiments fail. We may find out sometime in the near future that we have spent an exorbitant amount of time, not on a financially viable business, but on a hobby. We love the idea of paying the bills by selling something that we have made together, but we may end up rudely awakened from that dream. Sometimes we wonder if the reason we don’t see many other people doing this is that it simply doesn’t work. Sometimes we wonder what on earth we are doing. And it’s a little scary.
That’s why it was so refreshing the other day when I pulled out my phone, showed it to my friend, and didn’t even have to explain. She got it. Her face lit up. I didn’t have to tell her why this little interactive story is part of a bigger dream. She understood because she has a similar dreams. We may be crazy. But it’s good to know that we are not alone.
It makes me wonder what her church directory picture looks like.