When I was growing up, the middle child in a pack of eight, I remember my mother saying to us “You don’t have to toot your own horn.” How quaint and old-fashioned that sounds today, in this age of self-promotion, so like those raucous frogs on Emily Dickinson’s lily pads who are relentlessly “public.”
My mother’s words stick with me still, as does most of my impossibly happy childhood. There wasn’t much need back then, to wrangle for position or attention; my brilliant, intuitive parents made sure of that. Out in the Michigan countryside, surrounded by farms but not part of one, we grew to appreciate each other’s unique talents and gifts, without fearing we might get lost in the shuffle.
But how to square my mother’s lessons in quiet humility with my own efforts now to launch a blog, a website, a cyber “presence”? Uncomfortable at best, a traitor of sorts at worst.
And yet. Here I am. Because I realize my mother did not mean for her children to mute their trumpets. Rather, she taught us to focus on becoming our best selves. That way, we would be too busy expressing our humanity, to have to endlessly prove it.