When influences surface

my son and daughter throwing stones into a stream #influence #inspiration

Listen on Racket

Influence is funny in that you're not always aware that it's happening and you never know when it's going to reveal itself.

Sometime in the last month, the band Ladytron popped into my head. I used to listen to Ladytron in high school, and while I've listened to them at times over the last few years, they haven't been a band I've kept in my rotation. Yet, for a couple weeks, Ladytron was all I was listening to, with the song “Deep Blue” in particular being my jam.

And then earlier today, Father John Misty popped into my thoughts. I have been aware of Misty for a while and have enjoyed some of his songs, but I've never been a fan. But Misty was the soundtrack on my afternoon commute back home.

These music artists I hadn't thought of much lately had obviously made an impression somewhere somehow. A part of my brain had latched on to them and tucked them away, for them to somehow get loose and shake things up. How exactly does that work? I can't help wondering.

Considering these influences got me thinking about my days as a summer camp counselor for special needs kids. During one particular week, a boy who had Aspergers was in my cabin. We made it through the week without many hiccups and went on our merry way, never sure if we'd hear from each other again. A few weeks later, his mother returned to the camp with her niece who had needs different from her son.

During that summer, I had shaved my head because I was young and dumb(er) and it seemed like a fun thing to do. The boy's mother told me that, upon returning home from camp, her son had shaved his head to be like me. That sentiment touched me and made me re-examine that whole experience. What all was he watching and taking in that I wasn't aware of? I often ask similar questions now as a parent.

We are often ignorant of the influence we have on others, of the inspiration we give. And because of that, I ask you to find someone who influences and inspires you and let them know.

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