Everyone in the world wears multiple hats.
Even before anything else, just who we are without doing anything represents the start of a long list of the hats we wear. I am a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a neighbor, a citizen. The variety of hats worn within these responsibilities is dizzying. They range from supporter, to listener, to follower, to counselor, to exemplar, to trash collector, to landscaper, to lover, to pantry manager, to voter, to cook, to cleaner, to maintenance man, to playpal, to best friend, to adversary, and more…
Then, I am a partner in owning a small business. As such I wear a multitude of hats. I am manager, bookkeeper, marketing director, operations director, Vice President, delivery man, cashier, janitor, and this list goes on and on as well.
I am a member of a church. Again, I wear several hats in this role. I am a minister, a counselor, a leader, a consultant, a disciple, a friend, etc.
I am the lead singer in a band, a member of an all-male book group, part of a music-writing collaboration, a group leader of an Addiction Recovery Group. I am part of a PTA, Booster Association, Small Business Lunch Group, Chamber of Commerce, and member of a seemingly endless list of organizations.
By and through wearing each of those different figurative hats, I inform my behavior in any given situation. We all do it. Although we are still who we are, and we stand for what we stand for, we will act differently depending on the situation we are in and the hat we are wearing.
My daughter works in my music store. She also takes lessons from one of my instructors every Saturday morning before starting work. Within a very short period of time, when dealing with my daughter, I wear the hats of father, employer, customer service representative, and chauffeured. She is sixteen, and she makes mistakes. As she does so, each of those hats informs my behavior in a different way (even within that very short period of time). As I wear the hat of the passenger in the car, the mistake can cost me my life, and I am very reactionary and demonstrative. As I don the employer hat, I am less reactionary, but use clarity and precision in explaining the fault and ensuring it won’t happen again. When sporting my father cap, I am more apt to let her explore the mistake and the consequence, and learn for herself. And if she errs while in her music lesson, it’s the instructor’s problem!
I was thinking about hats this week after a conversation with my wife about how warm it gets in front of the lights on a virtual visit, and how warm (and sweaty) the hat gets as I participate in the calls with the kids. To combat this, I decided to order a few more hats. I ordered a couple different ones, and began to plan which one I would wear when meeting with a toddler or baby, which one would suit a child in their Stocking prime, and which one would be a good fit for the older, and wiser, youth. Perhaps I could even feel a difference when I put the fresh one on, allowing me to connect better with the soul on the other end of the camera…
Regardless, wearing the red cap is an honor. And one that I take seriously, and crave desperately.
Indeed, despite the myriad of hats I may don throughout the day, when I literally put on my Santa hat, I sense a grave responsibility to represent the big man well. When I put on the hat, I feel a part of something bigger: a campaign to spread cheer, to promote goodwill, and to embody generosity. When I put on the hat, my heart is filled with kindness, compassion, joy, love.
The hat is, simply, magical…