If you asked my students, most of them would tell you they hope to be famous someday. It's a wish that is a double-edged sword as you will see in this entry from June 20, 2007.
NBC's Matt Lauer scored a journalistic coup recently by being granted a joint interview with the heirs to the British throne, Princes William and Harry. I caught just a snippet this morning on The Today Show. The brothers came off as likable and aware of their importance in English society. I was impressed as they reflected on their military duty and the loyalty they feel to the comrades who endured training with the royals. Matt spoke to them about their celebrity, invoking the names of Madonna and Michael Jordan, who while world renowned, have only been famous for part of their lives while William and Harry were born into incredible fame. He asked what they would like to have been if they were not princes. William mentioned wanting to be a policeman as a child but offered that now he would like to fly helicopters. Harry leaned toward life in Africa as both a safari guide and one active in humanitarian efforts. I was struck by a line in Harry's reply to Matt's inquiry about the dream job: "if I became normal tomorrow." The lives of the sons of Charles and Diana have been anything but normal since their conceptions. Someone once said that when Diana married Charles, she was in reality marrying England. Carrying that logic out one more generation, we might accurately refer to William and Harry as the sons of England. Most would jump at the chance to be considered royalty but Harry almost sounded wistful as he considered the possibility of life as an unknown commoner. One of my students several years ago, Tanya, was head over heels in love with William and was convinced her life would be perfect if she were chosen to be his bride. She was enamored with the idea of being a princess. Would she still have loved him if his last name was Smith? I have my doubts. (Tanya, a born romantic, also promised me she would only marry a guy named Steve if I mentioned her in my book. I did....and I have yet to receive an invitation!)
I work with children all year whose parents don't, in some sense, really want them to be normal. They hope and pray their offspring will be special or extraordinary or at the very least, above average. Normal is good in terms of health but almost considered underachieving in the terms of accomplishment in social, academic, or athletic arenas. Being willing to lower oneself, as Prince Harry suggested, would be unthinkable to many. But that's what Jesus did in his quest to save humanity:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness." (Philippians 2:5-7)
The life of the Savior was anything but normal in the spiritual sense but he was about as everyday as they come in his humanity. He was called prince of peace but not by his neighbors. One title he bore was King of Israel but that proclamation invited mockery at the crucifixion. I don't think his ordinariness enraged his detractors; I believe it was the very idea that he could be something more than just a normal, mortal man. And thank God that he was both servant and sovereign! That's a daunting task for any prince.