06 NovExtraordinarily Ordinary
I don’t know if you saw the show, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” I don’t think it made a big splash. I did happen to see it and it captured my attention as one of those shows that makes me wonder how Hollywood let it survive to birth. This isn’t because the show wasn’t good—I thought it was—but because at its core it is the opposite of everything that Hollywood is. My take on the movie is that it is about seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. As I watched the film I quickly accepted the fact that Timothy is an extraordinary boy. How could a boy magically rising out of a garden from the dreams of a childless couples hearts not be extraordinary? However, as I started thinking about what I was seeing I realized that Timothy did not excel in anything that is used by us parents as markers of excellence. He was socially odd. He was lousy at sports. He couldn’t play any musical instrument other than the cow bell. He didn’t stand out in school. So where was I getting this sense of him being extraordinary? It was because he brought such happiness and hope to everyone he met.
Some might argue that while making people happy is a good thing, it certainly doesn’t guarantee security or success in the world. It is better to have an Olympic medalist or a Harvard Scholarship. In fact, for all the happiness that Timothy brought, it is hard to visualize him becoming anything great in the world. Some might decide that you want a better role model for your children than Timothy Green. I disagree.
As a parent who knows how difficult living in this world can I do want my children to develop all the resources available to them. I say yes to anything that interests them: music, sports, dance, academics, art, anything. However, I don’t encourage them because I see visions of professional sports stars, musical artists, or Nobel Prize winners, but because I have hope of them finding joy and fulfillment in one form or another through these activities. I encourage them to work hard and do their best, but that is more for the sake of their piece of mind in the future than with an eye on fame and fortune. Unqualified peace of mind is the prize.
So far my children are quite ordinary in the activities they pursue. I don’t appear to have any musical geniuses, sports stars, or full-ride scholarships on the horizon. If that does ever happen I can make peace with it. What I do have are eight happy kids who love to learn and who love others naturally. Three are already grown and out of the house. These three are in college and pursuing education with excitement and enthusiasm. Two of those are happily married (that’s a biggie). One of those has produced the most beautiful, happy, grandbaby in the world (with due respect to all you other grandparents).So far I feel very successful in my life.
If my last five children enter the world with the same enthusiasm for learning, the same willingness to work, the same ability to love as my first three children, then my wife and I can count ourselves blazing successes—the parents of eight ordinary children who are extraordinarily happy.