with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I was wasting time on Facebook earlier—as one does, when one probably should be working (ahem)—and as usual I was clicking around and following links posted by various friends.
It wasn’t long before I came across one of these sorts of “you have to watch this heartwarming video!” links, and because I tend to be a cynical curmudgeon, I clicked, but I prepared to be unimpressed. Much to my surprise, though, I found the story really moving… and as I reposted it to my own page, I started thinking about it some more. Yes, on the surface, it’s a nice story about a kid with a dream and a stranger who did something nice for him, sure. There’s nothing wrong with that story (at all). But I think there’s a pretty good allegory in here for us grown-ups, too.
Surely you’ve seen this story by now, but just in case you haven’t: Go watch this video about Caine’s Arcade for a dose of warm-fuzziness.
(You can learn more about Caine on the Caine’s Arcade site.)
So, on the surface: Kid has an interest. Kid builds something. You could even say that the kid has a dream, right? And then—serendipity, dumb luck, whatever you want to call it—stranger meets kid, stranger decides to shine a light on this kid and his dream, stranger brings the public and makes the dream real.
Nice story, right?
I think there’s nothing wrong with viewing this as a tale of a sweet kid and a nice stranger and a happy ending. But I think this is about more than that.
I doubt the man who made the little documentary (and organized the flash mob) would’ve been inspired to do so if Caine was just a kid with a couple of cardboard boxes. What’s remarkable about Caine is that he was passionate about his interest (recreating arcade games with materials readily available to him), meticulous in his recreations (right down to a “scanning” system for his fun passes!), and then—and this is the important one—unflagging in his dedication to his project. Caine sat there every weekend, convinced that customers would come.
That kind of dedication would be impressive in anyone, I think, but I believe what Nirvan Mullick found incredible was discovering that passion in a 9-year-old.
So what does that mean for folks like you and me?
It means that maybe sometimes we all need to remember that the rewards don’t always come to the people who are the objective “best” or “perfect.” Sometimes the winners are the folks who care, deeply, and who refuse to give up on their dreams. That kind of passion can be infectious.
We don’t have to be nine. We just have to care as much about our work as Caine cares about his. And then… who knows?
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