I watched ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ on TV the other night. I love that movie. The thing that stuck out to me was how, as dysfunctional as they separately were, they fought to support each other.
At the end of the movie, the little girl, Olive, was competing in the talent portion of the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The rest of the family knew that she wasn’t going to win, but competing was important to her, so they made it important to them. Her brother wanted to save her from disappointed humiliation and begged their mom to remove her from the pageant. The mother’s reply was, ‘Just let Olive be Olive.’
Olive went on to perform an uncomfortable and embarrassing dance routine to Rick James’ ‘Super Freak’ that her grandfather taught her before he died. The judges were appalled and demanded that the parents remove her from the stage during her performance. The chaos happening around Olive as she performed didn’t sway her. People were walking out, freaking out, and in an uproar about how inappropriate her performance was. Her family knew it was inappropriate, they saw it happening just like everyone else. They could add to her shame and try to please everyone else, or they could just be her family and refuse to let her go through the humiliation alone. Instead of removing her, as requested, they got on stage and danced with her.
You can make judgments in error and even embarrass yourself, but family won’t let you go through that alone. If one is going down, we’re all going down. We’re in this together and embarrassing stumbles are inevitable. The difference between grace and judgment are found when you refuse to let someone stand in the glare of scrutiny alone.
(warning: there are two spots of language in this clip, including a muffled f-bomb.)