Recently while visiting a friend in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the attendant at a small museum locked us inside while he went out for lunch. He didn’t realize we were upstairs.
It would have been okay if it had been a cool museum with dinosaur bones or moon rocks or tribal masks, rather it contained nothing but trophies, plaques and newspaper clippings extolling the work of Bayamon’s mayors. Some honors come with the job even if one does not deserve to be honored.
It got me thinking about the dreaded “Prize Day” when I attended high school. Once a year they gave out prizes to students with the best grades, best attendance and best performance. Each year I feared I would get nothing until my name was called and I had to stand in front of the whole school to get a stupid pin that basicially signified that I showed up for band practice. Yes, some awards are given just for showing up.
What about the parts of life that go unrewarded? We do not award people for being faithful and loyal friends, or parents for being creative and supportive, or children for being thoughtful and loving. In fact, for the most important areas of life, we get no trophies, plaques or news coverage.
In the words of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupÃ©ry, “Voici mon secret. Il est trÃ¨s simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”