Extraordinary Kindness by Noreen Heffernan


“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives…

Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life…

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.” –Author Unknown

Sometimes, the ordinary is the extraordinary. Human life.

I think about my grandpa, who is 94 years old and will whistle in his hospital bed. He is having a hard time as of late, but you would never know during the moments that he feels well. He is happy. He has always been happy and positive; a true light of life. I have never met anyone since who has loved life as much as him. I think about how he told me years ago, not to worry about where you are/live as long as you are surrounded by people who lift you up. “We didn’t have a lot,” he said, “but we had a lot of fun.” Those words made me move from Connecticut and back to where our friends and family lived. We stayed there for a little while and then created a life of our own here. And we have met wonderful people along the way, true friends. I think about the fact that I have the most fun, when I’m with kind and loving people, when someone makes me laugh and/or understands me. To me, that’s the life. I want my kids to feel that. I don’t want them to find pleasure in things but in people’s hearts and humor. Sometimes when my daughter gets home from school, the first thing I ask her is who she met/played with/connected with. I try to hold off on lectures and lessons about trivial things. Yesterday my daughter said that someone made her laugh when they said “poopie underwear.” I think that is kind of funny. I let her laugh even though it’s gross and saved the potty lecture for another time. Who cares. I want her to feel true connections with people. The learning will come. The reading will come. The math will come. The lessons are always there. It will all be here. I am not the Mom that boasts about early reading or writing or over-achieving. I know that will come with time. I think my children are extraordinary no matter what. That’s my job and my right. But, the social aspect of life is something to be taught, kindness about all. If you aren’t kind to others, what do you have? Nothing. We have all made mistakes before. I know I have. But, what we can do as humans is forgive and allow ourselves to be forgiven. Move on. That is extraordinary.

My grandpa loved people and stories and connections. That is where he shined, in his kindness.

Maybe my children will shine in some things, but maybe they won’t. Maybe they will just be ordinary throughout life. To me, there is nothing wrong with that. If they can make the ordinary feel extraordinary, then I think I’ve done my job. Maybe they won’t be the best athletes. Perhaps they will write and read at grade level and nothing above. But that is ok, as long as they are happy, kind and feel genuine connections. As long as they come alive when they are doing what they love. That is extraordinary and then out of that, will be success. There is something to be said about living the simple life, teaching the simple lessons, learning invaluable lessons.

When everything gets overblown and we feel like we aren’t doing enough for our children, remember that enough is what you are doing every day. If you are teaching your children that our ordinary every day is actually extraordinary. They will never need anything more. They will shine in their own right.

After all, we are leading an ordinary life. We are doing ordinary things. But, I hope that kindness leads us to extraordinary places.

~Noreen Heffernan,Writer, MA in Public and Corporate Communications, Certified in PR Writer, Growing Ladies

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