Wow. Look at the news. A 14-year-old girl just graduated
from college. Hey, did you see that article about the 11-year-old girl who invented a
chemotherapy backpack? How amazing is that? When you hear about news items like these you can’t help but wonder if your
child will add something amazing to this world. You wonder if you have to do
something special to bring it out in them or if they will create it on their
own. Then you sit and think about the fact that your son’s biggest passion
right now is playing Dragon City on his smartphone. How is he going to change the world with
that? What if he doesn’t?
What happens to the average kid who is never chosen first
string in sports; the one who walks away from school assemblies with a perfect
attendance award? Do the parents of these kids feel a twinge of shame that they
don’t have much to brag about except the fact that their child is getting "bigger"?
What happens to the average child as he grows older? He may
continue on to become an average teenager, not known for breaking school
records yet thankfully not known for mischief. This child goes on to achieve
unremarkable goals like going to college and graduating in four or five years.
Nothing special, nothing fancy. Then he
might find an average job that he happens to like and stays there, being promoted
once or twice but never feeling the need to do more because he’s okay with life
the way it is.
When there is no pressure to be great, your child can define greatness for himself.
This once unremarkable child now has the income he needs to
support himself comfortably and soon meets a partner whose greatest hope in
life is to start a family and to simply be loved. This average person can
handle those simple requests with no problem and he does, handing his partner
their lifelong dream on a platter without breaking a sweat.
This average child who became an average teen and then grew
up to become an average adult, isn’t bogged down by the assumption that he has
to receive applause or his life is worthless. This average child, now full
grown, can focus on nurturing his own offspring without demanding that they
make headlines, and they in turn, will grow up to become well-adjusted satisfied
individuals who don’t need fanfare to fuel their contentment.
If you have an average kid and you’re wondering if your
parenting is a reflection of his "lack of achievement," think about how
difficult it is to simply maintain a positive outlook on life in a world of
constant comparisons, highlighting the remarkable and ignoring the ordinary. If
you have a child who is able to smile most days and laugh on the others, you’ve
done a great job raising a balanced child who can handle the complexities of
life — and that is all we as parents really hope for.
Ordinary isn’t really so bad. Being remarkable has its
advantages, of course, but being average means less demands from self and even
fewer demands from others. When there is no pressure to be great, your child
can define greatness for himself.
Your average child, with the beautiful smile, will float
through life, really savoring each moment instead of missing out on the fun of
the carousel because he is constantly grabbing for the brass ring. He knows
that his life is the brass ring — and he is wise enough to appreciate it with
or without applause.