Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Lesson from a Rapper

I like to listen to upbeat music when I am working out - so I indulge in the often stereotypical, degradative lyrics of rap and hip hop music. When thinking about insightful song lyrics, rap and hip hop are not usually the genre that comes to mind. But I was listening to a new song by Mr. Puff, who goes by P. Diddy, but whose actual name is Sean Combs. He says, What am I 'posed to do when the club lights come on / Its easy to be Puff, its harder to be Sean  And the song goes on to be personally triumphant with Puffy man claiming in an interview that it's about "trying to find your way back to that person who your grandmother or father wanted you to be".  "Coming Home" has been named a redemptive ballad with personal lyrics that parallel struggles in his life including being a less than exemplary father, fearing commitment, and otherwise making mistakes, and faring losses.
I tell this background to make these lines relevant, but the crux of this post stems from the lines above that I plucked from the song about how its easier to do our "job", to put our face on and do what comes easily, or to do what is expected of us in a role - isn't that easier? Easier to do than to step out of our comfort zone, step up to a challenge even if were not ready, unprepared, or even unenthusiastic about it. The big job that this describes is being a parent. It is estimated that half of pregnancies in the US are unplanned. So it is safe to say, many of us are not ready. And I can safely assume from other statistics that many are unenthusiastic. I could go on and on about how that is wrong and upsetting, but the point of my reflection on this song is that yes, it is easier to do our job, leave our home and perform in the confines of our job description and then check out and leave. But when you are a parent, the "club lights" are always on. And it is more important to be our own Seans than to be a Puff. It was hard for me to instantly turn into a Sean, with no practice. I could go on as Puff forever. But the hardest things are often the most important and the challenging things often render growth. Puffing is easy once you become a parent because parenting is hard - I guess the goal is to be your best self in all roles, but the Sean should not be neglected or abandoned at the cost of the Puff.
Kudos to Sean for bringing his Sean to his Puff in this song (which is upbeat and enjoyable :) and I hope for his sake he continues coming home to the person he, judging by his many many accomplishments, is beyond capable of being. For the reward of being a parent is beyond any paycheck, public notoriety, or ego boost. It is the ultimate reward devoid of material boasting, it is the ultimate immortalization of everything good that you can give.

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