Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Special Effect

My daughter Sonia was playing with a friend. Who knows exactly what the "game" was? But I heard her shout to the boy...

"You're not a real person! You're just a special effect!"

There's some kind of wonderful lesson in that, but I am too tired to pull it out. So I will just let it stand... as something that came out of the mouths of babes. And I will try to remember to be real.

Photo by Sonia.

Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.


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Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, maybe it's because we don't think others will accept us for who we are, "warts and all". But if that's the case then maybe it wouldn't matter in that case. This is surely a means of growth, being real with each other, but tempered by God's grace, by which we grow.

Thanks for sharing that.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Not a real person...not being real/not being yourself. Special effect...being all show and noise/all hype and glitz=shallow?

My guess. :)

6:59 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

Sometimes, regretfully, I think I'm a special effect to my kids. I go through the day with them without any real interaction. I'm more just noise and lights, usually because my mind is on other things; I'm distracted. Other days? We connect and bond and really enjoy each other.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

"You're not a real person; you're just a special effect."

Hmm, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that one... ;-)

Seriously though, this sounds like it could overlap the thoughts Spaghettipie had on community.

11:15 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ted... I like the thought that it doesn't matter in that case. Because what you are really saying is that if people can't love our true selves, then they aren't loving us much anyway.

Eve... but, oh, the special effects look so real, don't they?

A Musing... good turn to this conversation. I guess the "special effect" is a creation, unrelated, disengaged.

Craver... Yeah, that Sonia coins a lot of new phrases all the time. She makes me laugh. And thanks for the tip on Spaghettie Pie. I went right over and linked her up. Good thing someone had more energy than me, to say something deeper. This has been a hard week, with some things going on with an elderly relative. My mind simply can't focus. (Thanks, Spaghettie Pie. You saved the post!)

6:03 PM  
Blogger Halfmom said...

I figured he was "just a boy" and she, a girl, is, afterall - 7. Boys should just be "special effects" at this point - not the focus of any aspect of her life.

11:35 PM  
Blogger TUC said...

Knowing Sonia, she was probably directing his part in a play she had created! Maybe its a good thing to be a special effect. Maybe I will try to be a special effect in my children's lives tomorrow...

12:18 AM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

I love the things kids say, what a wonderful world it would be if we could strip all the protective layers off that we have gathered over the years and get back to the inquisitive and forgiving nature of a child

6:00 AM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

I love the different takes on this idea - to be a special effect or not to be...

I guess if special effects are just engineered to create the illusion of a specific experience, then maybe I don't want to be a special effect. i resonated with AMM's comment that some days I feel like I'm a mom special effect with my daughter and some days we're really engaged and connect.

I do think this goes well with the idea of community and the special effect that virtual community can be. Thanks for the link and I linked right back to you.

Hope things are better next week.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Prayin' for ya, LL!

3:08 PM  
Blogger Shammickite said...

Well, at least he was a SPECIAL effect, and not just an effect. There's some comfort to be had in that, doncha think?

3:43 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Wasn't that the problem the Pharisees had? They weren't real people, they were just all about special effects?
Here's how Jesus put it to them -

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean."

Come to think of it, it's not just the Pharisees' problem, it can be mine as well

5:03 PM  
Blogger Julie Luse said...

mmmm, so contemplative, I like! I think that most of the time, I might rather be a special effect, instead of just a mom. Because the first one sounds more exciting, more "special", like glitter, or lighting, something that makes life more than what it is! Hmmm, I'll have to think on this more!

12:58 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Halfmom... whoa! No boy-girl talk. [I'm plugging my ears. I'm closing my eyes.] :)

Savage D... in fact, she was doing a show this morning for the whole family. I look to my left and see that Lavendar the lilac dog is still in an orange dress, crowned and riding a broomstick.

Martin... I agree. Kids say the most wonderful things. I wish I remembered to write down more of the things my kids say!

Spaghetti... yes, if my life is just an illusion, a pretense, I guess I need to rethink.

Eve... thank you. Really.

Ex S... I guess that's a start!

Every Square... Jesus sure did come down hard on such people. Why, do you think? What difference did it really make?

Julie... and there's nothing wrong with glitter, right? I do wonder sometimes if we parents go a little overboard though... taking the role of entertainer in our children's lives, instead of mentor and guide. (This is something I think about a lot... what my role should really be.)

6:40 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...


To answer your question -

I think Jesus' condemnation of Pharisees centered on their hypocrisy and their self righteousness.

One definition of hypocrisy is -
"a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude"
(being caught up in "special effects" rather than honestly acknowledging who you really are?)

Jesus hates hypocrisy because when we're hypocrites, we worship ourselves - our own reputation, our own virtues...we aren't loving God with all our hearts.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Okay, you don't hate dandelions, and I can sort-of understand that because of the chemical factor...

But GLITTER?! When I get to be king of the world some day, that stuff is going to be outlawed. There's nothing worse than the little sparkley leftovers in the carpet or on one's face.

This nasty stuff is not limited to preschool crafts; it's in greeting cards and even some clothes.

Ban glitter.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Julie, please don't send your triathlete hubby after me for "dissing" glitter.

12:52 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Every Square... I like that thought about why God doesn't want us to be hypocrites. I do always enjoy considering Why something we say is bad is bad. Because sometimes we lose sight of these things, or never had the sight (just the words, given to us through years of church experience).

Craver... oh, most amusing! I meant metaphorical glitter, as in it's-okay-to-sparkle. Yes, as for the other glitter, WHO thought of that? I'm for natural crafts myself (even willing to sacrifice a few dandelions to press as flowers for a design... surely you can't be against that service to your sensibilities :) How is Living Downstream going?

1:01 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Thanks for recommending that book. I'm still just on chapter two (I read veeeery slowly). This weekend, I was doing man-talk. You know, standing outside at a 90-degree angle with another man, hands in-pockets, talking about the lawns. And I shared some of the ideas from Living Downstream on synthetic chemicals and cancer. The talk went over very well.

Also, my wife will not let me use front lawn clippings in the compost pile for her garden because I used chemicals there. I can only use backyard clippings (no chemicals). It's all a pain in the neck, but at least I'm thinking more about this stuff lately.

1:28 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Craver... I love that vision of you at a right angle! :) I think it's interesting that this chemical question reaches beyond issues like cancer into quesitons of our very survival in terms of food supply. (See my post about the bees on my other blog, Giving Space.

We really must think past the shallow visions of beauty our society has handed us, that result in destruction. (The old apple-in-the-garden trick just keeps popping up in new forms, doesn't it...)

4:29 PM  
Blogger ChiefHazelrah said...

From an amateur historian's standpoint... "special effect" being used to describe a living being frightens me.

Hope you're doing well.

5:59 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

I tried to post a comment a couple days ago but Blogger deleted it when I was trying to upload. So then I got all hot and bothered and annoyed and went away. I'm back to give this another try. :)

Basically, my comment was not very redeeming. It said something like, "If I had said this line, it could have meant something like, 'I'm going to push you out of my orbit so you're no longer real to me because you are not safe or I don't trust you yet or you just haven't earned your way into my deepest heart of hearts. You're not real to me, so go away. You just get to be a special effect, like a crepe ball hanging on the wall at a party. Nobody really notices it, and if they do, all they say is, "Hm." And then they move on.'"

I'm sure this is nothing along the lines of what your beautiful Sonia meant, though. :)

9:49 PM  
Blogger Halfmom said...

Oh dear one of closed ears and eyes - hah - just be glad of wholesome stuffed animals escaping to play in the yard, for one day, the rest will come - and all too soon! I was rejoicing with you that it wasn't here now! I do forget sometimes, as my youngest is almost 23, the days when I could stick multiple ones in the shower together with no more concern than whether they would drown each other before or after the hot water ran out! I miss you those days - and pressing dandelions - and making clover necklaces and mud food.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Cool reply LL!

6:46 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Chief H... what a pleasant surprise to have you visit over here! Tell me, as a historian, what disturbs you about this language? Curious.

Christianne... oh, so glad you didn't let the cybermonsters stop you! Actually, I really like your take on this, even if it's not the redeeming view. It is this kind of behavior, when we treat others simply as special effects, that perhaps makes great aggression possible. To keep people as "Real," that seems to be more hopeful for humanity (maybe this is what Chief H meant by his disturbance? The treating of others as special effects, to make them acceptable targets of aggression? Or neglect?)

Halfmom... I loved your reply. So moving and vivid were the feelings.

Martin... thanks! At least I am cool some of the time. :)

9:00 PM  

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