“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, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
These beautiful words are important to consider in the modern world where there is constant pressure to enjoy extraordinary vacations with the kids, have the latest toys or teach kids Mandarin or the cello before they’re in 1st grade.
At five, the boy’s tantrums are less frequent but almost always occur in public at an ice cream shop or a restaurant. We’ve walked out empty-handed to the cries of “I hate you.” One, in particular, is probably somewhere on Instagram judging by the wide-eyed patrons of the crepe shop. It’s when they want something in addition to the treat is when they breakdown. Ice Cream, I guess, is too ordinary.
William Martin encapsulates my favorite dad days. Short hikes and long days. Fostering creativity and mindfulness will snowball into an avalanche of curiosity and understanding later in life.