Image Alt



One of my other selves is an organizer of bookish events in our city. We just had our big annual event this past Sunday, and I was finishing up the last details during the week, one of which was making name tags for the participants.

My middle son was quite taken by this idea, that name tags could just be made and given. After all, to the eyes of a child (and some adults as well) a name tag with a title confers some kind of status, and my middle guy loves anything that appears important or grown-up.

“Can you make me one?” he asked, as if I held the power to grant some great honour, a Knighthood maybe, a Nobel Prize.

“They're just for people who are doing something at the event,” I told him, “for authors and volunteers…”

“Oh,” he said, “could I be a volunteer?”

“Well… sure,” I said, scrambling internally to think of a job an eight-year old could handle.  “How about you hand out raffle tickets to the people when they come?”

“Do I get a name tag?”


“Okay,” he said, “I'll do raffle tickets,” and he did.  He took his job very seriously for almost 40 minutes, which is an eternity for a kid with such a short attention span, and he wore that name tag with supreme pride.

And I must say that I felt a fair bit of pride myself, to see my kid learning that any recognition worth the name (even just a name tag) comes with responsibility, and to see him taking that responsibility seriously.

The added bonus is that I already have my first volunteer signed up for next year.

Luke Hill is a stay-at-home father of three boys, aged nine, seven, and three.  He has fathered, fostered, adopted, or provided a temporary home for kids anywhere between birth and university.  He has taught college courses, adoption seminars, camp groups, Sunday School classes, rugby teams, not to mention his own homeschooled kids.