I was an English major in college. One of the big cornerstones of that concentration is the study of metaphor, of symbolism. And perhaps that thought process has stuck with me more than with some since that time. But what I realized recently is that whether or not you’re aware, everyone recognizes symbolism, they just don’t realize they’re making that jump.
For example, I spoke to a woman yesterday who wanted to find a pin on our website that signified “strength, bravery, and fearlessness” because her son had been in Sandy Hook School the day of the shooting in December, and was now very nervous about “bad guys”. The woman had told her son that she was going to find him a lapel pin that when worn, would protect him from bad guys.
We had many options for her, from lion lapel pins, to the arch angel Michael, and we found one that she thinks will really help boost her son’s morale as he heads back to school now that they’ve relocated students to a different facility. It got me thinking that we all use these talismans, and that they are far more valuable than the materials used to make them.
Think of how many millions of Catholics religiously (excuse the pun) wear a cross necklace every single day. Or policemen who wear star badges on their uniforms. Diamond rings worn on the left hand symbolize marriage, and billions of Hindus wear the bindi (the red dot just between and above the eyes) to celebrate their Hindu faith and the all seeing eye.
Chances are every one of us has some talisman we carry around or keep safe somewhere. And this child wearing a lapel pin to ward off “bad guys” is no different. It’s a very powerful statement of how much stock we put into metaphor and symbolism.
Lapel pins are powerful stuff.