Ordinary Lives

      by William Martin

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.

From The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents (New York: Marlowe and Company, 1999; a translation of verse 35 from the Tao Te Ching, with much to say about the writing of haiku).       +