Viral Emotions

The ability to cope. canstockphoto12709983

The ability to cope.


There’s a video that’s gone viral recently that displays a young boy named Jackson who is strapped in his car seat and is weeping silently through the A Great Big World/Christina Aguilera musical collaboration of “Say Something.” The emotional boy, who is only 4, closes his eyes and almost revels in the painful experience seeming to know he must go through the hurt to get the real message of the performance. His dad repeatedly asks if he’d like him to change the radio station and the boy almost silently whispers, “no,” as he shakes his head and seems to brace for the next stanza with tears streaming down his face. It made me think of Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca” sitting there with his bottle of bourbon trying to drink away the memory of his beloved Elsa as he tells his piano player Sam to, “Play it! If she can take it so can I!” But Bogey was a movie star and his lines were written, his pain was scripted and it was performed for the camera. Jackson is nothing but real. He has no awareness of a camera rolling. This is not done for theatrics. This boy has already found the emotional maturity to be touched by something beautiful and further has learned that every difficult experience does not have to be terminated the minute your heart shows up. I’m so proud and simultaneously touched by this young fellow that I wish only that I could meet his parents and congratulate them on giving this boy whatever tools were needed to be this in touch with himself emotionally at such a young age.

Some time ago the Cars recorded a song called “Just What I Needed.” I recall one of the lines being, “It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, as long as it was deep.” One lazy college evening as the radio played that song, a friend said, “What does that mean?” I told her it meant that the person to whom he is telling the story (or in this case singing the song) is being told that her past doesn’t matter so long as what she did during that time had meaning and was spent earnestly. I liked that line. It was like a giant bottle of “Wite-Out” was applied to any errors as long as they were encountered with good intentions; sort of a mass forgiveness for learning through experience.

It seems anymore that we all have become so judgmental of each other; like we should live error-free. We constantly decide how people should behave, how they should react, what they should have said, what they should have done. Why all this?  What about “live and let live?” I’m sure many people observing the aforementioned video would wonder why the parents wouldn’t turn off the radio and break this toddler’s sadness off with the turn of the button. I happen to be one of those who think kids should experience the full array of emotions whenever it appears they are ready for it. If this little guy has the capacity to emote at such a tender age then Bravo! He may be emotionally worlds ahead of his peers by the time he enters elementary school. I’d bet some of the world’s finest artists or leaders or thinkers had similar strengths at a very young age. Let it ride, man; see what he’s made of! He absolutely seems up for the challenge.

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