In praise of the average child

Filed under: Big Kids, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education, That's Entertainment

Ellie is what I would consider to be an average child. She isn't the star of her soccer team, she didn't start reading at two years old and she is a so-so ballerina. Actually, she might be a less than so-so when it comes to ballet, but that's another story. Ellie tries her best and she feels good about herself. I am proud of her and don't feel the need to exaggerate her accomplishments or push her to do better.

The same cannot be said for all parents. If half of what I hear is true, I am living in a community full of exceptionally bright, athletically gifted children. Maybe it's something in the water? More likely, it's something in the parents.

I have friend who calls me every week to update me on her son's basketball accomplishments. According to her, her 4th grade son is the next Michael Jordan. Another friend is the mother of the fastest 5 year old swimmer in the history of 5 year old swimmers. Another parent, who's child I have never even met, consistently regales me with stories of her daughter's academic dominance over the rest of her pre-school class.

Maybe these kids really are that talented, I don't know. But even if they are, I can't help but wonder why these parents feel the need to tell me all about it as there were some undeclared parental competition going on. These parents never tell stories that involve their kids being anything less than spectacular. Do they think it would reflect badly on them should their child turn out to be only average at something?

If they ask about Ellie (which they rarely do), I reply honestly. She tripped during her soccer game and did a belly flop on the field. She still struggles with which way the letter B is written -- do the bumps go on the left or the right? And she swims well enough to keep from drowning, but speed isn't even a consideration. And I am supremely proud of all of the above.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.