Why did the mother cry?
Life’s Lesson: Tears of Joy on a Happy Occasion
The Master told good stories so his audiences grew.
The little girl rushed on stage when her name was called, her eight-year-old face beaming with joy. She had won the trophy for her age group in the tennis event held by the club and she had not dropped a single set.
Shyly she accepted the trophy and then immediately turned around to see her mother. Catching sight of her in the first row, she raised the trophy high and blew her a kiss with her other hand. She was so, so happy and on top of the world.
Her mother clapped till her hands hurt and everyone else around her was also applauding. Tears formed in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks and they kept coming even though she tried to brush them away furtively.
The Master paused dramatically and asked, “Why did the mother cry?”
He brushed away the many answers he got. No, they were not tears of joy and no, she did not have some unrelated secret sorrow in her life.
“What mother will not smile at the joy of her child in such a situation?” asked the Master. “But this is also the first step to making her a slave to the approbation of others. Tomorrow, she will meet other players and some will be much better than her and she will be defeated. And she will shed tears of sorrow and angst.”
“The mother sees all of this clearly,” said the Master. “She would like her child to savor the moment but not cling to it nor be dependent on the approval of others – the drug we are all hooked on. She sees the heartbreak ahead and while she knows this is an inevitable part of growing up, what mother will not cry at the pain of her child?”
And that is true of each of us. We succeed and are applauded and feel triumphant. But there does come a time when every prodigy is no longer a prodigy. When you move from being the youngest person in the room to the oldest.
Recognize this in advance and make peace with it.
Never forget: This, too, shall pass.