I came across this poem on facebook the other day and I think it contains great advice for all of us in the narcissistic world we inhabit. It no longer seems enough to be good enough…we have to be the best at everything. But what happens to a child (or an adult) who is just average? Is their average life of no worth because they have no amazing achievements to speak of? If your below average child achieves a higher than average Leaving Cert result is it still not good enough because it’s not 625 points? We are all of value by virtue of our humanity and there is a place for all of us in the world, we just need to find it. If we can discover joy in the ordinary pleasures of life and in our achievements for their own sake and not as a comparison to what someone else has achieved then we can learn to be content in our lives, Ultimately, the only person we should compare ourselves to is ourself. Constant comparisons to other people are a sure fire way to discontent as there will always be someone prettier, more clever, richer, thinner etc than we are. If I could give my children one gift it would be the ability to see themselves through my eyes because then they would see what amazing people they are, flaws and all!
Make the Ordinary Come Alive
Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.
By William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents.