The Power of Words

My son, who is now 18 and soon off to college, is a minimalist. He was a minimalist in preschool where his teachers routinely chastised him for not coloring his pictures, for not making his work look pretty, and he is a minimalist now as you can see from this  year’s Mother’s Day card (no doubt fashioned between 1 and 2 am that morning):

mothersday (1)

By comparison, this was last year’s birthday card from the girls (labored over for weeks in the secrecy of their room):

mothersday (4)

No doubt the second card wins hand-down, right?

While I adore my girls’ ability to think up pretty projects and their tenacity to pull it off, I can’t help but admire my son for his stubborn refusal to extend any effort on things that shouldn’t matter. He is the ultimate economist, dispassionately counting “utils” (a word I just learned in a math book he recommended to me) of actions and things, and making something look beautiful holds no utility for him.

But he knew receiving a card would hold utility for ME, and he knew what I would love most of all: words. A poem, actually, in five stanzas. An excerpt:

…She’s helped me immensely, to discover myself;

To find out my interests, and then to excel.

She’s helped me recover, when times have seemed tough,

She’s given me confidence to try out new stuff…

I will spare you the parts that REALLY made me cry, but trust me, I was moved beyond belief. It didn’t matter one bit what the card looked like. It was absolutely perfect, distilled to its bare essentials. What’s more, had he thought for one minute that it needed to be colorful and pretty, he would never have take precious time out from a Game of Thrones binge session or non-stop snapchatting (or most likely both of them together) to produce it.

In my heart I know I should actually be more like him and just get the message across. I spend way too much time putting pretty pictures on my blog (not to mention Facebook!) when I know I should be spending that time just writing.

There is a lot of power in words. And I know I am good at thinking them up and putting them in sentences that speak to people. But I seem to rarely get to the actual words these days because of all the images and glitter distracting me on the way.

I should become more minimalist. Maybe I should give up Facebook. And blogging.

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