Often in my newsfeed (which, let's be honest, we're getting a little fast and loose with the word "news," but I digress...), I see some story that touts some creative--or at the very least, very cool--individual with the title of "Best Dad Ever!" or "Best Teacher Ever!" or "Best Boss Ever!" And the list goes on. Typically, this story is honing in one someone who has captured some quirky response to the seemingly mundane--be it allowing a little boy to buy a "girl's" toy, or organizing an epic flash mob in the middle of a work day, or sprinkling fairy dust and unicorns over homeless, gay kittens--and it makes headlines because it touches on some hot topic, or at the very least highlights the potentially-whimsical, multi-faceted aspects of life as we know it. (Humans. They're something else. WE're something else. Anyways...)
I am not against this, OK? Hear that now, and believe me.
Can we calm down? Like, can we take a moment to make newsworthy in our own lives the stay-at-home mom who managed to shower twice in a week AND saved a little something to get down with her hubs? Because YOU DESERVE A MEDAL, MAMA. Can we create a little hoopla for that person in the office who is always pleasant, even when the executive clowns look straight through them as they bark instructions and meal requests? YOU'RE GOLDEN, GOOD SOLDIER. To the spouse who looks at their mate, knowing they're a hot mess and all kinds of off-kilter, and choses to fill their tank with encouraging words because they're hanging by a thread? FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT AND BLESS YOU.
Yes, it's fabulous when someone steps outside of the expected, and while I enjoy seeing that happen, I think we can get distracted by the media blitz of a story going viral, and some unknown-to-us person getting a zillion thumbs up. Yet we quietly observe extraordinary individuals every day in our own lives, but it's a little more weird to stop and give them the ol', "You go, Glen Coco!" Because it's intimate. It's face-to-face. They may look at you funny. Or cry. I don't know. But it's a risk.
People, take it. Eventually, those "extraordinary" moments we see all over social media become a cultivated charade, designed to gain attention, or awareness, or pseudo-celebrity. And then what? We become jaded, untrusting, and back to the everyday blah. Great times. Thanks for the memories, Hope.
So stop. Stop the pedestal-promoting reaction toward parents who dress like an action hero to record their (admittedly super-witty) banter with their kids, or who sing along to the latest Pixar blockbuster's catchy-albeit-mind-numbing theme song while driving their clearly-bored toddler around town. I'm not saying we should stop all these activities, because look, these are the 21st century versions of playing Make Believe in a playhouse with your kiddos or building a fort from couch cushions. (Those are still the jam, though.) But must we compound the residual stress (guilt, frustration, etc.) for those who can barely do life day-by-day? Does it not bear down hard that these peeps are winning all the BEST OF prizes, which others are clearly so much NOT?
We've turned so much of parenting into elements worthy of celebrity when done "well." And we've done it to marriage, too. Shoot, we even hold up high those who dress well. Y'all. We reward people who do a good job at GETTING DRESSED. The clothes putting-on. Nailed it. Here's your fame. Here's your crown. You win at covering your naked self.
I love beauty. I love joy. I love laughter, and creativity, and uniqueness. I do. Because all of those things point unequivocally to our amazing, creative, boundlessly great God. He makes all things good and beautiful in due season, but in the meantime we are also encouraged to not overlook the meek, the shy, the discouraged, and the disenfranchised. And I tell you what, they may be the very same souls who are baking homemade treats for ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE ZIP CODE for Halloween, or rocking a perfectly coordinated ensemble that brings all the Pinners to the yard ('Cause they like, "She's better than ours..."). But let's not forget those who are living beneath yet another shadow of "better" that is cast by these Super Good at Lifers.
So when you see a seasoned mama rockin' the PTA, or you see a newbie parent who has successfully made it out of the house for a very exciting outing to the Post Office...when you see a longtime husband who is checking out at the store with a bouquet of lovely blooms for his wife, or a nervous beau who with shaking hands is holding the door open for his date...when you note a expertly suited businessman who is hanging with his children mid-day at the playground, or a struggling part-timer who is wearing the same tie for the fifth day in a row (because it's the only one he owns, but he still wants to look professional)...as you encounter any "regular" individual who is worth the real, heartfelt acknowledgement of making it, reach out and give em' one of these...