“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

From the book: The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. So true. How many unhappy people are in that state because they think they have to be extraordinary? I can think of three in my extended family. I hope I have raised my own family to know the wonder in every day of ordinariness.

  2. That is terrifying. It doesn’t suggest teaching them to continually seek and share the wonder of it all. Instead, it seeks to have them passively experience everything rather than become actors in their own lives. Just take your medication child, and you’ll see that the status quo is ok!

  3. Drew, have you read Tao Te Ching? One of my favorite verses starts off with “The Tao does nothing, but leaves nothing undone…”

  4. I often find myself taking note and then admiring or observing more “common things”, when I otherwise would not have, because I’m engaging the world with my children, through their eyes. This sentiment goes both ways.

  5. Love this!