Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blog #1: The Tale of the Indian Bead Loom

Lately, I've been thinking about an event that happened over a period of months when I was a little kid.

You have to understand, in order to "get" this story, that when I was real little, I found out I had Cherokee blood in my family. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. To think that this rich culture I had already kind of liked was part of my family tree was just too amazing. I wanted to learn everything I could about all Native American cultures. 
So with that in mind, the following might make a bit more sense. One day, I went over to a friend's house, and she had a little loom like the one in the picture there. She was making a bracelet that had a beaded pattern in it. I of course was enchanted. She showed me how to use it. I knew that I had to have one of these.
I asked my mom if I could get one. Her first vision was not the beautiful jewelry I'd make but rather the millions of tiny seed beads that she would get to step on. Despite these obstacles, one Christmas, I found a long, rectangular box under the tree. I had gotten my Indian Bead loom.

After Christmas breakfast I ran upstairs to my room and ripped open the box. I already had visions of what my beautiful "authentic" jewelry would look like. But what was this? What came out of the box was not a fully functional, put-together loom. It was in pieces. You had to put it together. Being a kid, I didn't think I needed to bother with the directions. I had seen the loom in action. I had worked with the loom. I started fitting pieces together and...broke it.

I've been thinking about my Indian Bead Loom a lot lately because I have found that there are a lot of experiences in life that could potentially go better if you bear such lessons in mind. In life, one could apply this to something like relationships. Everyone seems to have a great relationship. You see it, you think you are pretty sure how it works, so you rush to get one, but it doesn't come all put together. You have to work for it.
In the business world, this comes to mind when I think about marketing through Social Media. Everyone is pretty sure they know what Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are by now. Heck, teens can use this stuff, so it would seem like a business could. And everyone is talking about how great Social Media can be. But Social Media, corporate identity, whatever it might be...these things don't arrive all put together. It comes through bits and pieces of information and experience, and yes, some directions. But like a my Indian Bead Loom, if you try to rush into things without doing the research....if you try to put things together haphazardly, you can end up breaking it.

Years later, by the way, when I was an adult, I bought myself another loom, determined to learn from my mistakes. I did put the loom together successfully, and I got a third of the way through making something. I realized I didn't know how to change the tension on the strings. I moved that in-progress bracelet to three different abodes before finally throwing the whole thing away. With a little more research, a little more care, well who knows. I could have been a Native American bracelet guru by now.

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