Enjoy the ordinary
July 16, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

Friday, July 27 is the opening ceremony for the 2012 summer Olympics in London, England.
It will draw about 10,500 athletes from 204 nations across the world, who will compete in 26 sports featured in the games.
People have always loved competitions. The ancient Greeks were no different. The first Olympics were in 776 BC, or some say, even earlier than this. War was even halted for the Greek Olympic games. It is said that the first Olympic champion received a crown made of olive leaves.
The Olympics remains as popular today. One can truly appreciate the skill and dedication that these Olympic athletes exhibit. Children and adults appreciate the talent and hard work, and may even aspire to be an elite athlete one day.
However, there are also a lot of tears, pressure, stress, and even drugs that have become a part of this competition, as well as other elite levels of sports. Competitors feel they need to be the best at all costs.
There are those athletes who feel they must take drugs to help them compete at the highest level possible. There are athletes who deal with pressure from coaches and families, and feel they must meet their expectations. And, when they don’t obtain the coveted gold medal, what is next?
Now, I do truly appreciate their skills, however, we do need to evaluate what success is for all of us. There are only a few who will win the gold, but is that how success must be determined?
Sports, as well as other competitions, are a tool for teaching discipline and hard work. We do need to learn how to win gracefully and lose with dignity.
We may do well at a job interview and obtain that position we wanted, or we may not. Does that mean we give up and wallow in our woes for long?
Absolutely not. We reevaluate and move on. Persevere. This is a life lesson.
In “Redefining Success and Celebrating the Ordinary,” Alina Tugend stressed that we should enjoy ordinary life – ordinary magical life. The magic is in our relationships with others.
Enjoy taking a swim on a hot day. Enjoy sitting by the fire on a cold day. The real values that we really want to pass on to our children are kindness, appreciation, and compassion.
That truly is what I want most for my children. I want them to be happy, kind, caring, and compassionate toward others. Work hard. Play. Appreciate. Give. Love. Live with compassion and integrity.
A woman’s funeral was attended by a large number of people, sharing life stories of the compassion of this woman. Onlookers may have thought that she lived just a normal ordinary life, but she did much in her ordinary life.
Story after story was shared of how she gave to others – with her time and energy. A kind word. A thoughtful expression. A helpful deed. A simple, but gracious greeting. This is what this woman offered to others.
English teacher David McCullough Jr. told the graduating seniors at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts, “Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
Be happy with you. Do what makes you happy, and share this happiness with others.
As we are watching the Olympics, let us appreciate the talents and skills displayed, but remember to convey to our children that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
It is okay to live an ordinary life and enjoy the ordinary things in life that are truly extraordinary for each of us.
Live each day and enjoy life.

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