When I met with Allison and Bryan a few weeks ago, I came away with a really warm feeling. We talked about how life changing having a child was, and how this changes your perspective on life, in a way that no other event does. They seemed, obviously, very tired. However, there was such a sense of contentment and love for each other and their children. It was almost overwhelming.
I don't know why, but it got me thinking about a fascinating biblical tale. David is in the twilight of his reign. He is about to crown his son, Solomon. One of his men gives him an interesting blessing. He expresses his hope that Solomon's kingdom be greater than David's.
Now, at first blush this might be puzzling. Is this not disrespectful to David? Our Rabbis say no. They point out the obvious to any parent. חוץ מבבנו, בכל אדם מתקנא. One can become jealous of anyone, except his or her child. The greatest compliment you can get, is that your child should be so great and successful that he eclipse you. In fact, one of the sweetest moments in any parent's life is the moment you are called not by your name, but by your affiliation to your child. Oh, you are His mom. You must be their dad. It's like hearing music for the first time. Hearing that your child has surpassed you, is even greater.
I asked Allison and Bryan what they hoped for their children's future. Kind of a big question, almost cliche. But I loved the answer. They said they hoped that the closeness in age of all three of their children would help them remain close, and stick together. I found that really interesting, especially as I have been reading a lot about "collective impact." Social scientists are finding that there is real evidence, that something many of us suspected is true, really is. For true and lasting and powerful social change, you don't need the next bright idea or silver bullet. You need different people with different talents and variant roles to act together. That is where greatness truly lies.
If you think about it, that wish that these kiddos stick together, that the next generation learn the power of collective impact, is how the blessing of Solomon materializes in the real world. The best way to see the fulfillment of our dream that our children surpass us, is through Allison and Bryan's wish, that they stay close, and stick together, cooperate with other. That is the path of greatness.
So, Allison and Bryan, our wish for you is similar to the one given to our ancient king: May yours kids indeed stick together, and through this may they be so blessed, that they be greater, greater than you.