Rearing Rebels (Episode 6): Product Placement

By now, everyone knows — or at the very least has heard — of product placement. We see it almost everywhere – in movies, on TV, in sports and most certainly through social media influencers. Let’s face it – in many “consumption-driven” parts of our planet, there’s a heck of a lot of real estate on offer. And those who are looking to sell more are most certainly looking for any new inroads. In my own experience, I’ve witnessed (and been a small part of) high-stakes endorsements through which a pop singer commits to uttering words of endorsement at a concert; a global ice cream brand layers itself into a popular TV series and countless smaller examples. The common denominator: someone has eyeballs/viewership (an engaged/captive audience) and someone else has a product or solution to sell. Sounds benign enough – and it’s not my intention here to criticize the approach. On the contrary, it’s my goal to use the power of this strategy to my advantage when it comes to rearing children and having an influence on those around me. And it’s rather simple. It comes down to choosing the right assortment of “products” and carefully placing them where they might have an impact on those you love. In our home we’ve placed items like crosses, Byzantine icons, pictures of Marian apparitions, rosaries, votive candles and bibles in key spots. At first glance, this could look like overkill; but when you explore the topic further, you see that there is a huge amount of diversity in crosses, icons, rosaries etc. Each category runs deep, with artistic variations, different approaches, symbolism etc. In the realm of crosses, we’ve learned about the Jerusalem, Antiochian Orthodox/Melkite Catholic, Armenian, Coptic and Chaldean crosses – for example. We’ve also learned to appreciate the beauty (and stories) of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Częstochowa etc.  Each has its uniqueness and beauty and speaks to a different person in my home.

I’ve asked the kids recently how they felt about this “product placement” approach and I got answers like: “some are beautiful”, “it’s comforting” or “I like showing them to people”.

And so the placement continues in our home with occasional purchases, each accompanied by a story, a key learning or prayer. Most importantly, though, each outward object clearly points to a loving God who seeks to walk with us, each day of our lives. And, at the end of my journey, when I hopefully return to the Creator’s embrace, my kids will say “I knew where Daddy stood in life – and what ultimately mattered to him.”

Happy shopping!

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