Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the 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.”
- William Martin, author of The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
I grew up in a family of 8 (Catholic, need I mention), where only one parent earned a salary. There was a girls' bedroom and a boys' bedroom. Our moderate means and humble lifestyle were not only influenced by our financial situation, but also by my parents' can-do, make-do attitude, where 'enough' was perfect, where striving for MORE was not even a goal. Being rich meant having all your basic needs met, and no more. We had no expectations of grandeur or luxury; no sense that we were entitled to something better. Our lives were uncomplicated and simple. I grew up not wanting or desiring material things, but wishing for a satisfying, fulfilling life. I never felt that I deserved a new bike (a hand-me-down was exciting and 'new' to me), or that I might own a radio or one day have my own camera.
I'm so lucky that my upbringing instilled in me the ability to appreciate and value small things. It has helped me understand that little things not only matter, but count for something, and amount to a lot. These, added up, are what transform the ordinary into extraordinary.
I have an extraordinary life!