Friday, April 15, 2011

Sometimes Commercials Really Are Important

I’m not really big on television commercials. Like most people, when the commercials come on during a show I find something else to do. They’re loud, annoying and there are far too many of them to suit me. That said, there is one currently on the air that gets me every time and even though I’ve seen it about 100 times, I still watch it every time it comes on.

It’s the one about the kid who goes to the pianist’s recital with his parents and wanders away from them. Somehow he ends up back stage and sits down at the piano. Just as his parents realize he’s missing the boy starts to peck out a tune. The curtain goes up and the parents, completely aghast, see their son playing the featured pianist’s piano. To make things worse, the pianist walks up behind the boy, much to the parents’ embarrassment.

Rather than get angry and escort the boy away the pianist tells him to keep playing and begins accompanying the boy and together they perform the most beautiful and extravagant rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” ever heard. The audience is enthralled and when they finish the pianist tells the boy “Great job” and together they take their bows to a standing ovation from the audience and from two very surprised but very proud parents.

The message of the commercial is encouragement of a child’s dreams and actions. I understand the actual commercial is a bit far-fetched. The chances of a boy wandering away from his parents and ending up backstage are likely very slim and the probability that the pianist would encourage and accompany the boy rather than being angry and dismissing him is also slim. But the message hits home and it tugs at my heart every time I see it.

I’m guessing it’s because of my own son that the commercial gets to me. I remember him about the same age. He loved to sing and actually had performed in front of an audience when he was only 4 years old. He’d sing in the car when we were driving without any embarrassment or fear. Of course, that changed somewhat as he grew older and by the time he was a teenager I doubt he ever sang in front of anyone again. And when I’d mention those performances in the car (Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” mostly and yes, I know…. but he was a kid.) he’d get embarrassed and tell me to shut up. But I have my memories.

Sometimes there are commercials that are simply done right. If you haven’t watched this one I highly recommend that you do. If you have and haven’t let it sink in, watch it again. I thank its creators and whoever put it on the air. It’s a wonderful reminder that our children need our love and encouragement, and need to know that sometimes even if something starts out wrong it can end up right. And it doesn’t only have to be the parents who give the encouragement.

Thanks to those same people for giving me a wonderful reminder of my son. As I said a couple of weeks ago – sometimes it happens in the most unusual ways.

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