Food for Thought-Instagram, Boys, and Headphones: What Makes My Daughters Happy


I’m constantly amazed at the new things I’m learning. Among the new arenas of knowledge I’m encountering are hair dye, bleach, and tampons. I know what you’re thinking. Is he questioning his gender identity? Did I join a cosmetology program? No, that’s not happening. There is a much simpler answer. I have teenage daughters. These items, among others things, are extremely important to their lives. The absence of dye, bleach, and tampons in our home or our inability to purchase these items can make or break a day. Despite the value placed on red hair dye, for example, these items only create a level of functionality with my daughters. Tampons, bleach, and hair dye are like Cinnamon Toast Crunch; crucial to survival. These are not the things which truly make them happy. From my lofty perch, armed with middle aged, Kierkegaardian angst, I observe within my daughters a level of happiness foreign to most adults in my congregation and community. The things which make them happy blow my mind.

1. Doing stuff on Instagram seems to be the most interesting thing in the world. I think I get Instagram, on some days, while at other times; I don’t get it at all. I have a working knowledge of algorithms but this makes no sense to me. Whatever it is, it must be awesome, because they are doing things on Instagram all the time. These things involve their friends, pictures, looking at their friends, pictures, then showing each other what they’ve just done on Instagram, and laughing like hyenas. This makes Instagram a “fun” or “happy” thing in my book. Though I don’t “get” it, I’ve decided looking at Instagram must be a happy time.

2. Sometimes the people you connect with on Instagram actually come to your house. This is not in a creepy Craigslist kind of way. These people, well known to you from “school” are “teenagers”. Occasionally, I will return from doing God’s work in our community to find “teenage boys” sitting on the couch in our living room with our teenage daughters. Instagram comes to life and real boys find their way into our house. Does happiness mean having people over? The teenage boys greet me by name or with a head nod, depending on their involvement in Instagram. Being in the presence of teenage boys makes the girls happy. This makes me nervous. They laugh. Oh, do they laugh. Much of their laughter is at photographs on Instagram. Apparently, the word “manbun” is funny too.

3. How can one listen to music if you don’t have headphones? Have you seen my headphones? You’ve got my headphones. Do you know how important headphones are? So and so has fifteen pairs of headphones.  I need to tell you that head phones are an integral ingredient to happiness. As you can’t eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch without a spoon or milk, you can’t listen to 21 Pilots or Circus Butt and The Shaven Fingernails without headphones. And we should all be grateful. Here’s the thing about headphones: for all the happiness they create, they are made by duplicitous Chinese factories who know how easily they break and how little sisters like to steal them from big sisters. I’m convinced China is propagating the headphone industry to keep us searching for that one allusive pair or we’ll all be singing the praises of Circus Butt one day soon.

I think I’m a little short on laughter these days.  Who isn’t?  I’m just waiting for the shoe to drop on my Panamanian banking plans.   Maybe I need to sign up for one of those Instagram accounts.  I’ll drop in and see what condition my bald man bun is in.