Spreading the word about certain people whose work (I believe) deserves a larger audience is one of my favorite things to do! Privately and publicly, I do it constantly.
Frankly, it aggravates me to hear people complain about the books and songs that are at the forefront of our society’s consciousness. I agree with their complaints, but they still aggravate me. Why? Because so few do anything but complain.
Do you promote Miley Cyrus? I didn’t think so. But while you and I ignore her, someone is fiercely promoting every move she makes and doing a heck of a job. In the seven months since Miley’s VH-1 appearance that had everyone up in arms, her newest video on YouTube has been viewed more than 601 million times.
Allow me to repeat that: 601 MILLION views…in less than seven months.
Do you think Justin Bieber is likely to come to his senses, stay out of trouble, and become a good influence for your children and grandchildren? Probably not. Bieber has figured out that the more he misbehaves, the richer he gets. And it’s true. The kid is closing in on 1 BILLION views on YouTube.
So this is the lesson our children are learning: It doesn’t matter how you get attention as long as you get it. And if you get enough attention, you’ll be famous. And rich.
How about Sugarcane Jane?
Never heard of them, you say? Yeah, my point exactly…
Anthony Crawford and his wife, Savana, are incredibly talented, long time friends of mine who had the audacity to get married before they had children. Curiously, they have stayed married and out of trouble, all while raising a family somewhere other than New York or Los Angeles. This very cool couple, performing together as “Sugarcane Jane” and with a couple other buddies as “Willie Sugarcapps,” don’t have a single song on YouTube with more than 15,000 views.
If I had a goat, this would get it.
You will never convince me that the majority of America’s population LOVES Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. But if you argued that the majority of America’s population quietly shakes their head and goes about their business, I’m all in. (Gently…don’t loosen those blinders.)
We are dangerously passive when it comes to promoting people who deserve it. Is there anyone whose work or influence we should passionately get behind? Or do we carry on with our timid retreat as the culture we have allowed to overwhelm us continues to marginalize most of what we consider right and good?
Promoting a person and their work is a way that we can change this world. What book or song or person might the world never read or hear or know about…if not for you?
It was just a simple answer to a question from the press. If not for a few words, spoken with genuine enthusiasm, we might never have heard of the insurance salesman who had written a book in his spare time. The Naval Institute Press published a few thousand copies of that book in 1984 and, as expected, it went nowhere. Then, one day, a reporter asked, “Mr. President, what are you reading?”
Answering with excitement, Ronald Reagan said, “I’m reading a book given to me by a friend and I can’t put it down. It’s called The Hunt for Red October!”
Today, few people remember that Tom Clancy sold insurance, but his book sales have soared well past the 100 million mark.
Billy Graham is one of the most influential men in our nation’s history. Yet, were it not for a two-word telegram sent in 1949, we might never have heard of him.
William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, sent a telegram to the editor of every newspaper he owned. The message was: Puff Graham. The very next day, papers across America released enthusiastic, admiring articles about this young Christian minister. Curiously, Hearst never directed his newspapers to stop “puffing Graham,” and obediently, they never did.
In his book, Just As I Am, Graham wrote that he never knew when, how, or why such a powerful figure had taken an interest in him. For the record, he stated, “Hearst and I never met, talked by phone, or corresponded in any way as long as he lived.”
Yes, Billy Graham was and is an incredible communicator, but you could probably name other incredible communicators who are less well known. Why? One reason could be that no one became a “promoter” of their work.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Anthony and Savana.
One evening, after dinner at our home in Orange Beach, Anthony was showing something on the guitar to our boys. Very quietly, he began to sing the classic ‘60s song California Dreamin’ and we held our breath in awe as Savana harmonized. It was truly one of those magical moments.
Several months later, Polly and I were out of the country with friends and told the story of that moment. The next day, I called Anthony and asked if he and Savana could recreate that and email it to me.
“Just set up your iPhone and sing,” I said.
“No problem,” he answered, “but be warned…the kids will be in the shot!”
Anthony and Savana have a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
I have watched the little video they sent many, many times. It is, for me, another, different kind of magical moment that reminds me not only of their talent, but the love they have for each other and their family. I thought you might enjoy it, too. Be sure to watch until the very end.
After California Dreamin’, I’ve included a song they recorded recently with their friends Will Kimbrough, Grayson Capps, and Corky Hughes.
Now, leave a comment and tell me, who do YOU think deserves our attention? And what are we going to do about it?