Thursday, July 10, 2008

Call Me Josh

There’s always been much to do about titles. Some people enjoy the labels as it gives them some kind of social standing in the world. Over the years, I too have held various titles, none of which I enjoy and all of which make me feel uneasy. I’ve been called Mr., Cadet, Lieutenant, Sir and maybe even a few less appropriate nicknames from my friends. At the end of the day and sometimes right smack in the middle, I just enjoy hearing my actual name with nothing before or after. It might not be sexy, glamorous or give me anything to boost my ego but that’s just fine by me.

My Father used to tell me that the reason why he never told strangers his profession is because he didn’t want them to think that he was somehow putting himself above them. He never got too caught up in what people called him, probably because he has never seen himself other than a regular guy with a job. Whenever he’s called some form of attorney in public, I can see his embarrassment. I know that it’s not because he is ashamed of his profession but because I know as a simple man, he just prefers people to call him “Jim.”

Some families purposefully name their children by titles. In professional sports there’s “Champ” Bailey, “Peerless” Price, “Lawyer” Malloy, Rey (King in Spanish) Sanchez and the list goes on. Perhaps their parents wanted them to be judged and their logic was that if they had a grand title for a name to begin with then they might live with more self confidence and achieve distinction on their own someday. While some may call it chauvinistic and aggrandizing, I’m sure it’s better than the “boy, son or kid,” label that is placed on some minorities by those very people with the fancy titles.

I think we put too much emphasis on titles. We have gotten away from achievement and have based our culture around believing that a title defines who people are and is the pinnacle of success. I’m not suggesting that we should not pay respect of reverence to certain individuals whose life’s accomplishments ought to be respected. I just think that if we looked at one another less as the positions that we hold and more as mortal beings, then maybe we would learn to see each other more as equals.

Two of the most important people in the world go by titles (Pope Benedict and President Bush). Their titles alone almost insinuate that their decisions and actions are above everybody else and that they are infallible in every way. Perhaps if we just looked at them as Joseph and George respectively, then we wouldn’t have such unreasonable expectations and we could accept their mistakes more easily. Granted they hold offices of grand responsibility, but I think we get too caught up in Pope and President that we wrongfully assume that they are working every second of every day or that they are as we envision their title, "perfect."

After all, let's face it, the greatest and most humble man once walked this earth without a title. He didn’t got by Dr, General, President or Reverend. His name was Jesus and that was good enough for him.

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