I’ve always wondered what a television show would be like that featured people living life well. Making good decisions, working hard, and treating others nicely. Would that be the most boring show in the world? But if that’s the most boring show in the world, then why is that the type of life most of us strive for? I don’t want life to be boring. I want life to be full of joy and meaning and creativity. That certainly doesn’t sound boring, but so many shows make us think that a well-lived life is full of risk and poorly thought out decisions where the real ramifications are minimized. Maybe that’s simply more entertaining to watch? Maybe we’d rather watch people screwing up and falling on their face than succeeding?
But we also like to see people fall in love, overcome adversity, and genuinely care for others. I think Modern Family does a great job with this. You’ve got a group of people that aren’t perfect and constantly make mistakes, but at the same time the show finds ways for the characters to care for each other. It shows that life can be entertaining, but that our relationships and caring for each other brings a deeper fulfillment than a Two and Half Men type of existence.
I started “using” Twitter a few months ago, because interacting on social media and getting your content “out there” seemed like something I was supposed to do. That’s not necessarily something I wanted to do, but if you’re going to take the time to write stuff, a main reason is that you want people to read it. But Twitter is so stinking awful. It’s mostly a bunch of people finding other people they disagree with and then they fight. I’ve tried to ask genuine questions of people that I thought were opened-minded, only to have them retweet what I said and demean me. So much fun!
But then I started adding math people and some educators, and it was a breath of fresh air. Now, instead of political rants or complaints about how awful white male privilege is, I actually started to see some positivity. People posting about math lessons that worked well, or how they’re trying to create a positive classroom culture. These people might hate Trump just as much as the Christians retweeting “F#*$ Trump,” but they’re choosing to use their time and energy for something positive, and that is refreshing.
It reminds me of Bob Goff. I was lucky enough to hear him speak a few years ago, and I love his message about loving others. He talked about his neighbor across the street, her struggles, and then the simple act of deciding to love her. He made it sound so simple, like there is a switch inside I need only flick on. That’s not an easy switch to flip, but it’s not nearly as complicated as we tend to make it out to be. We’re really good at complicating life, drawing battle lines, and living in our own little self-created war zone. Maybe we blame our circumstances, or the people we’ve decided are our enemies, or even ourselves. Why do we choose to live in that world, full of pain, stress, and hate, instead of living in Bob Goff’s world?
I made a video in the car a few weeks ago with my youngest. As I type this, I’m waiting at speech while he practices how to talk. A lot of that video was me going “Huh??” when I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but making that video was fun. I’m not perfect, and he’s not perfect, but it was real. It was me, his dad, having a blast talking to him about bananas, monkeys, and of course, poop. That interaction got me thinking about what a positive and “love first” sort of life looks like. It absolutely wasn’t boring. It wasn’t about blindly following a prescribed set of rules that leads to a successful life.
It got me thinking about my default attitude I bring into different situations, and how that isn’t something I usually think about. A life with good relationships doesn’t have to be boring, but that’s an attitude we have to choose. I want to approach each day, and how I interact with people in a way that is full of love, and invites others into discussion. A life that sacrifices for the benefit of others. I want to be an example to others, and that’s both scary and sobering. I want to live up to those high expectations.
That’s the sort of positive and loving life I want. I don’t know if that would make a good sitcom, but I think it makes for a good daily attitude. Then again, throw in a kid talking about poop, and you’ve got comedy gold.