When I talk to my six year old son about deeper issues in life, I don’t necessarily think it’s all going to sink in. I just hope and pray that over time a little bit of what I have to say can seep through the stubborn mind he inherited from me and find its way into the tender heart he inherited from his mother. Just a little bit.
I recently read an article about a college basketball player for the University of Michigan. Austin Hatch has survived two plane crashes, the second one taking the life of his father. His father used to tell him to strive to be an uncommon man. Uncommon men live life against the grain. I really like that idea.
One night, after Christian had experienced a very common six year old breakdown, I was tucking him in to bed and asked him:
“Do you know what common means buddy?”
An understandably perplexed looking little boy answered, “No.”
“Common is normal. If you are common you are just like everybody else. If you do something in a common way, you do it the way anybody else would do it. Uncommon is being unique or different. Doing something uncommon means you do it in a special way. Do you want to be common or uncommon buddy?”
An excited “uncommon!” came out of his mouth. Maybe he could understand deeper concepts.
“The way you reacted tonight was how a common six year old boy reacts when they don’t get what they want. I want you to be uncommon and to do things new and unique. Can we work on being uncommon men together?”
He thinks for a second, looks at me, and says, “I think I can help you with that daddy.”
In the middle of last summer, tragedy struck our family with the mighty force of a gale wind. This tragedy is the main reason I haven’t written anything in six months. Someday I might be able to actually write about what happened.
In the aftermath of that tragedy and the desire to raise a boy to become an uncommon man, I wonder if I have lived an example of uncommonness through this turmoil. Am I making the intentional decisions to live differently as a father? To live against the grain and instead of saying I want to make time for my family, actually doing it? To love my wife and kids with the selfless love that God asks of us?
Some people may say that being normal or common is ok. My response is that they have a narrow understanding of themselves and others. Everyone is unique. I truly believe when the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139 that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Fathers. Mothers. You are not common. You can live and raise your children to be uncommon. To have an impact on this world in unique, positive, and beautiful ways. Will you challenge them to do this? Will you challenge them to take the necessary steps to be uncommon? Take those steps and we can raise a remarkably uncommon generation.