Have you followed the royal birth this week? Based on the amount of media coverage, you really can’t help it, can you? How would we feel about a royal birth if America had its own King and Queen? Let me know what you think.
Over the past couple of days, all forms of media have dedicated countless man hours and resources covering the birth of Kate and William’s first, yet to be named child – The Prince of Cambridge. I’ve been amazed at the level of attention that this event has received from our American media (although I’m not surprised).
Huffington Post has provided real time updates – noting that today at 9:47 AM (US EST), two pizzas were delivered to the service entrance of St. Mary’s Hospital. They also noted that after giving birth to a child she deserves to eat anything she wants. The media also reported that Kate’s parents arrived at the hospital at 10:15 to visit the newborn prince, and Carole was wearing the £335 Orla Kiely ‘Dancing Girls’ tea dress in pebble — a lovely choice to visit her grandson. I guess that’s some important stuff.
I also learned that a hairdresser was dispatched to the hospital prior to the first appearance by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son. Finally at 2:12 PM, Kate and William exit St. Mary’s Hospital. We found out almost immediately that Kate wore a baby blue bespoke polka-dotted Jenny Packham (her favorite!) dress and looked gorgeous. I’m running to the store right now to get Carrie one of these dresses.
As I have been forced to follow the coverage of the royal birth (mainly because it’s the first thing that pops-up on the AOL home screen), I’ve asked myself how America would really feel about this event if we had our own royal family? Many Americans have followed the birth of this child as if it’s the most important thing going on in their lives. The question I ask is: Why? Why are we drawn to events like these? Why are we so drawn to celebrities and the lives they lead? How would we treat events like these if America had its own royal family? I think I discovered the answer to my question last night.
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a business dinner with two gentlemen from the United Kingdom – one from England and one from Scotland. Over the course of the evening, the subject of the royal birth came-up in conversation – of course. And it was quite apparent that their level of interest in the royal birth and in the royal family was limited at best. When it came up, they didn’t even know that the child had been born at 4:24 BST (again from Huffington Post). Our host knew the details, but our guests really didn’t seem to care. She seemed puzzled by the situation as she assumed because they were from the UK, they would be drawn to the event like many of us here in America. In this case, they were not.
And I think I understand why. The royal family has been part of their everyday lives since they were born. This is normal stuff. This is part of their culture. These guys were around for the birth of Prince William and Harry. They have lived through multiple royal weddings and divorces and multiple scandals. Since we Americans don’t have our own royal family, we have chosen to live vicariously through the royals of England. We are drawn to the pomp and circumstance of the royals. The traditions, customs and rituals. The mystery of the life of the Queen and her family. We, as Americans, are enamored by it. We have parties to celebrate the weddings, the birth of royal children, the royal polo matches, etc. Following their lives is an escape from reality. For many, it’s just entertainment.
Part of me finds a great deal of humor here. Part of me is saddened by it because there are more important things going on in the world. Part of me understands the need to escape from reality – to follow the lives of others. It feeds our dreams. What child doesn’t want to be a movie star or a princess or a famous singer? Who doesn’t want to live in a royal castle? My middle daughter is totally drawn to Taylor Swift. My oldest daughter loves to watch and listen to Selena Gomez. Fortunately, neither of my girls like Justin Bieber (thank goodness).
So for those of you that have followed this event from the beginning, I hope they name the baby boy soon so we can all move on with our lives and see other headlines on the AOL home screen. You would think they would have come up with a short list of names over the past nine months. I’m thinking George or James. Those are two royal sounding names.
We should know something soon. I can’t wait.
If you were Jewish, would you live your life as a Christian?
Would you try to hitchhike across America without a penny to your name?
Would you walk across the street to spend quality time with your neighbor?
These questions and many others will be discussed in my most recent post.
While I was on vacation at the end of last week, I took the time to read a couple of books – actually finish one book and read another. As a chemist with a sociology degree, I am drawn to the nonfiction realm. Lately, I’ve been on a biography/memoir kick. Most of the stories involve a person/author who feels the need to live life outside of their comfort zone. The author is normally at a point in his/her life in which he/she wants to do something different. He/she wants to interact with people that they wouldn’t normally interact with on a daily basis – to experience new things.
To have these experiences normally means leaving a job, their home, friends, and family. In some cases, it means living a totally different life – like a devout Jewish person living a year as a Christian as I discovered in Benyamin Cohen’s book, My Jesus Year. Or hitting the road without a penny to their name to see if society will still open up their lives and their homes to complete strangers in Mike McIntyre’s The Kindness of Strangers.
The common theme in each of these books is the author’s reliance on others – normally complete strangers – to help them discover their purpose or achieve his personal mission. For Cohen, it was living life as a Christian to gain a greater appreciation for his own religion. For McIntyre, it was hitchhiking across the United States penniless, relying solely on the kindness of strangers.
How many of us today would even think of stopping to pick-up a hitchhiker? Apparently people still do. People from California to the coast of North Carolina stopped to help McIntyre achieve his mission – travel the country without a penny to his name.. And very rarely were they middle class people like you and me. They were mostly people of limited means who knew what it was like to be in McIntyre’s shoes – penniless, living off the kindness of strangers. For me the book sent a powerful message, and made me question how far I would go to help others.
When I read Cohen’s book, I asked myself: How many people would take the time to share their beliefs with a non-believer or even with fellow believers? Could I do it? In the book, Cohen shared his experiences with people from many different faiths – Mormons, Baptists, Evangelicals, Monks – and how their faith helped shape their everyday lives. They all opened up their lives to a complete stranger – in this case Cohen. As I read the book, I was a bit envious. I have a hard enough time sharing my thoughts and feelings with my wife – much less a friend or a stranger.
So, you’re probably asking, Delton what is the point of this blog?
I’m not telling you to run out and pick-up hitchhikers or to run tell your wife or your friends your innermost thoughts and feelings.
The point I’m trying to make is don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Experience new things. Be kind to people you don’t know. Share your thoughts and ideas with new people. Build a relationship with a co-worker, a fellow church member, or even build a stronger bond with your husband or your wife or your children.
Get to know your neighbors better. As I’ve read in a number of publications and books, many of us hardly know our neighbors. We are strangers in our own neighborhood. So learn more about your neighbors and their families – not just what they do for a living or where they’re from. Have a deeper discussion. You never know when that neighbor could make a huge impact in your life or you in theirs.
What do you think?