1. One of my firm’s marketing chiefs told me once, that if you look around a gathering of executives, the one who is the most dressed down is almost always the most powerful. I think as we become more confident in our place in the hierarchy (or on the stage, as the case may be), we have more space to realize who we really are and can let that person out to be seen by others. Maybe its still Show and Tell, just a “look at me, I don’t care what you think” sort of S&T. That has to be better.

    • I agree with this perspective. I don’t think I really show and tell from a consumer perspective. I try to stay under the radar. My car is old. My phone is cracked. I don’t wear jewelry, and my uniform is rarely in TOP condition. I think being in the Air Force has given me the confidence to be who I am and not care what people think. There are those that are intent on “showing and telling,” but they usually have something to prove to someone – in my experience.

      I do try to show and tell in my successes though. It typically has little to do with things or money. It’s more about the “look how far I’ve come from that small-minded town!” Look how successful I am now based on the position I hold! (Kind of an “in your face” to the haters show and tell.)

      This is a great post Penny! You really got me thinking.

  2. This is such an interesting perspective. I used to love Show and Tell as a child but it may be setting our children up for competition that they don’t need. Comparing what we have to others can leave you feeling inadequate. Thank you for sharing!

    • I couldn’t really tell what the daycare’s real reason is. I could certainly see how it might make someone feel inadequate, but they weren’t willing to say that. Hmm.

      • Based on your post I feel like they fear a lawsuit- you say they mentioned that their toys were already vetted for chocking hazards.
        The inclusivity perspective makes for a nicer narrative though.

  3. I really like this post. My first thoughts about Show & Tell went right to social media. Look who got a new car. Look who just went on a fancy vacation. I’m guilty, too (or really my wife is, I’m not that great at social media!). I think daycare is right to do away with it, but as you said, it may never really be cancelled.

    • I agree Gary! There are lots of places to show and tell and the person on the receiving end does not have to leave the house with social media. Nevermind heading out to see who is driving what cars and buying what things. I agree it might never be cancelled but at least there are some places where they are trying to remove the element. Some of the schools in the area had uniforms so clothes don’t need to be competitive. I did in my high school so the competition was about the shoes. There is always a way to show and tell.

  4. So I am going the low road and not handling the philosophical question, but the daycare question.

    Bean is obsessed with bringing toys to daycare, even though she is not supposed to. She can bring one thing to snuggle at nap time but it has to stay in her cubby the rest of the time.

    I never know exactly how to feel, because she loves to bring stuff and see what other people bring. I am always torn with trepidation–is this early consumerism?!–or is a natural desire to share and be curious about others’ lives. I don’t know for sure.

  5. I’m not sure that they ever had specific Show and Tell. Kids did bring books and toys in earlier classrooms but it was for personal sharing with friends and to play with together, not for sitting in a circle and saying “this is what I have today”.

    This year the daycare stopped allowing kids to bring in toys for sharing. We only just started allowing JB to do so because ze is notoriously possessive and we really didn’t need YET ANOTHER reason for zir to pinch or bite or punch a classmate over someone grabbing zir toy.

    As for the bigger metaphor? I mostly revel in not feeling much of a need to live the Show and Tell life anymore because of my privileged work existence. I am free to choose to project a neutral image, if anything.

    “Not much” as opposed to “not at all” because I do care about presenting myself well in professional circles, or showing up properly attired to celebrate special events with friends. I think that’s related to being respectful and cognizant of the circumstances but it’s also a version of show and tell. It’s a signal that I understand professional and social norms.

    That said, I did absolutely look at our neighbor with the perfect outfits and perfectly done hair and ask myself whether she’s going to judge me as inadequate with neither. It’s not going to change my already intended path of slowly improving my wardrobe, but it would tell me something about her if she does. How someone acts and talks tells me as much about them as their superficial layer does. I ended a budding friendship with a neighbor who openly and laughingly fatshamed a friend because I’m not ok with people who think that’s ok.

    I yearn for an electric minivan for our family’s comfort (not that one is available in the US) but I won’t pay the price tags to import one and even if we were willing and able to do that, I don’t like the message that sends to people who have any clue about the cost of cars. I don’t like anyone making the assumption that we have money! 🙂

  6. I don’t know. A time to show other people what matters to you. A thing you took time and care in choosing. A small presentation that encapsulates part of your beliefs and desires for yourself and the world. It seems to have value.

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