Happy Days Question #5 - Being Different

by Laurent Graff

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:27 pm

Parlez wrote: I find it a significant point that the elders were the only ones who truly accepted him and didn't seem to expect anything from him. So...I wonder, does acceptance mean
not having any expectations??


Parlez, I thought gemini's thought was interesting that the elders were the ones to accept him as well so that is a good question. Maybe they got to know him better or were just used to him being around? Maybe since he never really did anything they didn't expect him to? Hmmmm... :perplexed:

Betty Sue and fansmom, I think you have a point. He never gave affection to them so why expect it in return? Kids learn what they live.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:35 pm

Betty Sue wrote:Love all of your perceptive answers and stories! :cool: This could be a psychology class! The only thing I want to add is that I wouldn't expect very enthusiastic kisses from my kids if no interest or concern had ever been shown for them! In fact, I'd expect them to be a bit repulsed. Maybe they should understand that he's just different, but they're just kids, and that's Daddy! It would take time (and maybe therapy!) to learn to accept him, I would think.


I haven't answered the question as I couldn't quite see the relevence to the quote, but I agree with Betty Sue's answer here. He has shown no affection so why would they treat him any other way.

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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:40 pm

Parlez wrote:I find it a significant point that the elders were the only ones who truly accepted him and didn't seem to expect anything from him. So...I wonder, does acceptance mean
not having any expectations??


:perplexed: Hmmm. Yes, I think so, Parlez. Once expectations are set, preferences are formed.
When travelling in another country, if you have no expectations, you are open to whatever comes your way. And are more able to enjoy those occasions.

Perhaps that's it with Antoine, the older people have less expectations, so get along with him better.
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Unread postby Veronica » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:42 pm

I think we can all relate to this feeling of being different because of our obsession with Johnny. People think its weird, make jokes or say mean things about Johnny. Society has painted a picture of what is nornal & if you dont fall into that catagory then there is something wrong with you. I think we are all guilty of it. Its human nature.
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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:29 pm

Al had no expectations of Antoine, and made no judgements, but I really don't want him as a role model.

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:31 pm

I'm with you, fansmom - Al is NOT my kind of role model! :-)
And I think the idea of having no expectations of other people
enhances our ability to accept them....maybe... But how about
our ability to accept ourselves?? Is that linked to having no
expectations too?
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Unread postby Depputante » Fri Dec 08, 2006 6:53 pm

Parlez wrote:I'm with you, fansmom - Al is NOT my kind of role model! :-)
And I think the idea of having no expectations of other people
enhances our ability to accept them....maybe... But how about
our ability to accept ourselves?? Is that linked to having no
expectations too?
Oh oh, here's comes a headache!


If I have no expectations of others , then whatever they say, whatever turns them on, would be sort of fascinating. If I had expectations, then the potential increases them not to meet the expectations.


:eyebrow: Having no expectations of ourselves, enhancing our ability to accept ourselves? :freaked: Not necessarily, I say. Probably not.
Accept ourselves how?

There was one time in my life when all my expectations of myself went flying through the window. I got rid of the 'Super Woman Syndrome' immediately after giving birth to twins. There's only so much a person with only two hands can do. I just took the most dangerous situation first. I don't think that throwing out my expectations increased my ability to accept myself. It did increase my abilty to stay under control under unnerving circumstances though. Therefore, others view me differently than they once did.

How does one begin to accept oneself? :fear: ...I guess by have a sense of purpose or goal in one's life. Perhaps. Also, putting down society's expectations and picking up your own, then you're better able to accept yourself.
For example: Thinking of any stereotypical ideal your parents told you growing up as a boulder on your shoulders. Mine was 'men are all crap'. Once I put that down, and stopped beleiving it, realizing that it was someting that was put onto me, not my beleif, then I was able to develop my own ideas and better accept myself. I find that when I have expectations, I run into trouble.

Soooo, come to think of it, Antoine, puts down all his boulders society places on him, and I think, accepts himself for who he is.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:36 pm

Agreed. I think that's Antoine's ultimate goal: accepting everything (people, circumstances, himself) AS IS.
When I consider this as a premise for living I'm struck by how impossible it would be to live in the 'real' world and have a hope of pulling it off. There's just too much going on 'out there' - expectations, judgements, opinions, distractions. You'd almost certainly have to go...somewhere....else. Plus, I'm not sure how you could learn to accept everything without interacting with anything, which is apparently Antoine's other goal.
Another impossible premise, perhaps?
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Unread postby Charlene » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:42 pm

OK, I'm just looking at this from a totally difference place...the ick factor associated with old people. He might not have been old chronologically, but "old" is what he became and "old" is what his kids saw when they visited and found him in bed.

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:16 pm

Good point, Charlene. I think what we've been trying to come up with here is the reasons why he got 'old', volunarily, before his
time. You're right about his kids - seeing him in the circumstances he's in, they treated him like they'd treat a grandfather or some other aged relative in a retirement home.
I'm not sure why we tend to treat our elders with such reserve,
even with revulsion sometimes, as if they've done something
wrong....but that's another story, right?
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:52 pm

Since most of us try not to get old before our time it is hard to understand why he would choose that voluntarily. I think we are reserved around the elderly because it scares us to know that we will be one of those people one day. If we just ignore it...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:16 am

fansmom wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:Love all of your perceptive answers and stories! :cool: This could be a psychology class! The only thing I want to add is that I wouldn't expect very enthusiastic kisses from my kids if no interest or concern had ever been shown for them! In fact, I'd expect them to be a bit repulsed. Maybe they should understand that he's just different, but they're just kids, and that's Daddy! It would take time (and maybe therapy!) to learn to accept him, I would think.
That was my take on it as well, Betty Sue. I don't think they're treating him like an old person because he's choosing to live differently; I think they're treating him coldly because he's never been warm and cuddly to them.


So maybe they weren’t really looking at him like he was old but just disinterested because he was disinterested in their lives. I hadn’t thought of that.

Parlez wrote:I find it a significant point that the elders were the only ones who truly accepted him and didn't seem to expect anything from him. So...I wonder, does acceptance mean
not having any expectations??


Good question, Parlez. I think that they accepted him because they didn’t expect that someone his age would want to hang out with them. They appreciated it. Now I’m going to add something here from a recent experience....

My dad and one or two of his friends have expressed that they don’t understand why someone my age (51) or younger would want to spend a lot of his/her free time with someone their age. This came up because of a man (around 30) who hangs out at another facility for Alzheimers (where a friend of my dad’s moved to). This man apparently is the driver for outings. But in his free time he spends a lot of time hanging out with the residents. My dad, along with a friend of his, thought it was very weird and thus were very distrustful of him. I’ve witnessed this man too. I was distrustful of him also….. until I read Happy Days.
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Unread postby suec » Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:16 am

I think that if I had a father who was so emtionally detached, I'd be less than effusive in my displays of affection with him, too. At first, that is how I read that quote and left it at that. But reading these posts has reminded me: thinking back to my own youth, and of what I have seen of teenagers today, I think the need to fit in at that age is extremely important - for some. There is an enormous need to conform, to have the same hairstyle, to like the same things. Then there are those who opt out of that and make a deliberate statement about it too, such as a goth I know, but she still identifies with a group of people. Some lucky people don't care at all. I wasn't one of those! I remember being very perplexed by my parents separating, not only because of the trauma of it, but noticing that as far as I knew, no-one else was in that position. (How times change! This was 30 years ago though.) I was just as embarrassed when my dad started dating a girl younger than me. Now, it wouldn't bother me at all.
That the elders seem very accepting of him seems to match with the old people I have known. The ones I know are more accepting, because they have more wisdom - or more experience, at least. They have seen it and done it all before. They know in the scheme of things, what matters, and what doesn't. I remember once asking my gran if she had been shocked by something I had done and she just laughed at me. Quite rightly, too.
It does seem to be the other people who find it harder to come to terms with Antoine there, such as the staff. It is interesting that the manager has to describe him as being something like the village idiot for them to come to terms with him.
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Unread postby Charlene » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:11 pm

Parlez wrote:Good point, Charlene. I think what we've been trying to come up with here is the reasons why he got 'old', volunarily, before his
time. You're right about his kids - seeing him in the circumstances he's in, they treated him like they'd treat a grandfather or some other aged relative in a retirement home.
I'm not sure why we tend to treat our elders with such reserve,
even with revulsion sometimes, as if they've done something
wrong....but that's another story, right?


Yes, why can we kiss and cuddle a newborn who's bald and toothless, pees himself, and yet we recoil from older ones with all their "barnacles" (a phrase my Mom's doc recently used to describe an old persons' skin...I almost laughed as Davey Jones' crew came immediately to mind).

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Unread postby Charlene » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:16 pm

Liz said:
My dad and one or two of his friends have expressed that they don’t understand why someone my age (51) or younger would want to spend a lot of his/her free time with someone their age. This came up because of a man (around 30) who hangs out at another facility for Alzheimers (where a friend of my dad’s moved to). This man apparently is the driver for outings. But in his free time he spends a lot of time hanging out with the residents. My dad, along with a friend of his, thought it was very weird and thus were very distrustful of him. I’ve witnessed this man too. I was distrustful of him also….. until I read Happy Days.




That is wierd Liz...you might think he didn't have all his marbles, so that expectations of him were low at the retirement center, but then he wouldn't be able to drive. Perhaps he's doing research, or perhaps he just has a loving heart and this is what he believes is his way to serve God. Interesting. Perhaps someone could ask him one day. Let's hope it is not something horrible like he can't be around children, so this was the only job that was suitable.


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