I have always been a champion of the underdog. My loyalties invariably lay with the team with the hard luck story or with the less popular member of a duo or group. I was never a fan of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. I never have and never will root for the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Yankees. They have enough fans, enough fuss, enough people telling them how wonderful they are. They don’t need me. I truly don’t know if these choices are purposeful or if that’s how I’m wired. I suspect it’s a combination.
What I do know is that when everyone else was starry-eyed over Shaun Cassidy (yes, I’m talking about the 70’s), I was hopelessly devoted to Parker Stevenson. He played the smarter of the two Hardy Boys – even then I was a sucker for the brainy ones. And during the endless 8th grade playground conversations about just which member of Duran Duran truly was the cutest, mine was always the only vote for Roger Taylor. He was the drummer and the only one who didn’t have long hair and didn’t wear makeup. Even then I was a sucker for the clean-cut ones. Those of you who know my husband know that these tastes held true!
I believe that there’s much to be discovered when you take the time to consider the less than obvious choices in life – and in people. I’m trying to instill this in my kids, without being all lesson-y about it. It’s already clear that there are always going to be kids in every class who are magnets. Whether it’s looks, personality, athletic ability, family status, humor, there’s something that pulls the other kids into their orbit. Why I was surprised to see this in action in kindergarten – and even preschool – I don’t know. It was true when I was a kid – and I’m sure even before I was a kid – and it’s true today.
But I want my three beans to look deeper. To look beyond who everyone else thinks is the coolest or the funniest or the most popular. To take the time and make the effort to get to know the people around them well enough to make those less obvious choices. The kid who might be a little quiet when you first get to know him but who is wickedly funny or super smart. The girl who daydreams during class just might be blessed with an incredible imagination that would guarantee to take any game of make-believe to new heights.
What I want my beans to know and understand is this. I’ve found in my life that when you make less-than-obvious choices, you make discoveries that other people don’t get to make. When you take the time to really look, you’ll discover the true gems in your life. And you’ll treasure them. And they’ll treasure you right back.