Throughout his career, legendary artist Norman Rockwell’s depiction of American culture was dismissed by critics as overly simplistic sentimental snapshots of an America that never existed.
I think Rockwell’s critics missed the point. He was casting a vision for what America could be. His illustrations were popular because his paintings captured the spirit of America, which has always meant reaching for life’s greatest ideals, even when they exceed our grasp.
I’m not surprised that Rockwell was criticized for promoting strong marriages, innocence in childhood, or the value of deep faith. Cynics of traditional values celebrate everything … but value nothing. And that’s a mistake. Marriage, family, and faith are sacred and worth protecting.
I can’t communicate the importance of traditional values as creatively as Norman Rockwell. But I can illustrate their importance by living them. And so can you. Every day we make the world more broken and empty, or we fill it up with love, courage, justice, and mercy. How? By living a life that promotes all that’s good and right.
Norman Rockwell once said, “I paint life as I would like it to be.” So do we, every day, with the brush strokes of our lives.