How are we perceived when we display symbols of our accomplishments, interests, and opinions? What about the “labeling” words from our mouths?
Labels (literal and figurative) are descriptive and sources of information - nothing wrong with that; right?
I read a book titled, “The Year of Living Biblically,” by A. J. Jacobs, author of the bestseller, “The Know-It-All.” He is an avowed Jewish agnostic who tried to, literally, live according to the bible for a year - long beard and all.
A very humorous book, and also thought provoking, his attempt to obey the Ten Commandments made me think of the 18” x 24” framed print of the Ten Commandments that my darling husband brought home a few years ago. It took a while for him to find a home for it on one of our walls, and when he did, I was slightly taken aback.
I stepped into our 5’ x 6’ half bath (powder room) and there it was.
“Hmmm… I’m not quite feeling this. Am I not a ‘Good Christian’ because I don’t want it there? Am I being a bit heathenish?”
Sooo…I tell him. Plus, I mention that our non-Christian guests may feel that it’s a little “in your face” as they relieve themselves.
My husband’s display of Christian books, pictures, hats, and t-shirts get him the “religious” label, which is not his favorite because of its catch-all meaning. He just prefers, “Christian.”
* Athletes: Super athletes in particular. They have trophies and ribbons everywhere. My stepfather’s family room was filled with certificates, ribbons, and pictures of him running until my mom had enough of it.
* Personalized license tags
* Mommy vans and SUVs: Many have the little characters stuck on the rear windshields – one for every family member and every pet.
* Other vehicle stickers/emblems:
......Kids’ schools – especially private schools
......Sororities and Fraternities
......“My Child is on the Honor Roll”
......The ovals with an acronym of favorite vacations spots; ex. OBX for Outer Banks, CM for Cape May
......The Christian fish
......The Darwin fish
......The Democratic or Republican presidential candidate
......The Confederate flag
* Designer clothes and accessories: My girls like swimsuits and backpacks with “Roxy” visibly weaved into the fabric.
* Professional offices (away and at home): walls plastered with degrees, awards, recognitions, honors, framed newspaper and/or magazine appearances
And what about the labels used when we speak? Typically, our tangible labels correspond with verbal declarations.
Mine is, “I’m a reader and a writer – love to do both.” My “labels” are journals that are stashed throughout my home. Pencils, paper, stationery, and favorite pens are abundant. Shelves of books are in every room. Every time I finish a book, it feels like an accomplishment, the physical book representing the trophy.
A friend commented on one of my blog posts telling of a Seinfeld episode where he asked why people keep books. “Are they trophies to prove that you can read?”
Guilty…only the trophy part, though. I guess everyone knows I can read.
Still, I thought, “Yeah, why do I do that?” So I donated a few (okay, only 3) to the library for their fund raising sale. And guess what? I miss seeing those three books on my shelf.
I realized that I don’t keep my books for other people to see hoping they’ll be impressed. I keep them for “me.”
What label(s) have you attached to your life? Is it for you, or for others to notice? Showing off a little or sharing your interests? :)