Over the years, I have probably tried to explain to my children a thousand times what it is I do for work. I have an eight-year-old daughter (Stella) and a five-year-old son (Truman) They are smart and inquisitive kids, very curious about the world and how things work. But even with their insatiable curiosity, it’s difficult for them to understand what it is I do at Brains on Fire. If I tell my kids “we are a creative company that believes in the power of human connection,” I don’t exactly see light bulbs turn on. Concepts like advertising, marketing, and communications are just tough for young kids to get — especially the community-focused way we do it at Brains.
For a long time, if you were to ask my kids what I did for work, their answers would vary. For a few years they would answer that, “He pushes buttons,” a clear nod to my nerd-rooted propensities (I wear glasses) and hours spent on a computer for work. Other times, they would tell people that I worked directly for some of our clients. When other well-meaning school parents asked, I would have to clear up that no, I am not a baker or a horse rescuer or kid helper. Most recently I had to clear up that I was most definitely not a laser scientist. That one didn’t have as much to do with my work at Brains as it did with my son’s “overactive imagination” (Read: “being a little liar.”)
Over the last year or so, as they have gotten older, I’ve finally made some inroads with them on understanding what it is I do. It came when I tried to distill our work to its most foundational element and told them, “I help people tell their stories.” That’s finally when I got light bulbs.
If we get deeper together, I say, “We help good people tell their stories better…so that they can do more good and find other good people.”
They get that.
And they like that.