Optimism for All Seasons – first posted May 19, 2009

When our daughter, Rena, was in her late teens our family watched the video, A Man for All Seasons, based on the life of Sir Thomas More. To put it mildly, Rena was highly agitated by the movie. “I can’t believe they ended it that way,” she kept on saying, referring to his beheading at the hands of King Henry VIII. Though she knew that the account was historically based, in her view a happy ending was required. Why in the world would you voluntarily communicate a story that ends in a depressing manner?

Rena doesn’t share the cutthroat competitive tendencies of the rest of our family. While her parents and siblings have been known to treat what should be a casual board game as if the free world’s future depended on the outcome, she wants to play games where everyone can win. I’m not saying the rest of us aren’t warm and friendly, but she seems to own an additional niceness chromosome. All of which contribute to making her the lovely daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend that she is.

As she has matured, Rena has discovered that niceness mustn’t become naïveté, and that closing your eyes doesn’t cause tragedies to disappear. But still, she tends to one extreme of the spectrum anchored by cynicism at the one end and trust at the other.

In the course of four weeks, two of my husband and my daughters will be graduating high school and college. Two of our grandchildren turn one and three years old respectively. I wish them and all of our (and your) children and grandchildren a world where rose colored glasses depict reality rather than hope.


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