It’s Not All Mary Poppins


“I think we’re both agreed that she’s quite bright.” The mother is leaning toward me, a confident smile on her face.

In fact, we agree on no such thing. I don’t think she’s stupid, but I’m not convinced she’s particularly bright. She has her strengths: her fine motor control is astonishing in a child her age, and her unquashable good humour is an inarguable strength.

But bright? Maybe. It’s young to know for sure, but if I were asked for an opinion — which I was not — I’d say she was average.

But you can’t say that to parents. Other people, unfortunates that they are, might be burdened with average children, but mine? Mine is exceptional!

You ask a hundred parents if their child is below average, average or above average, and I’m betting that 90 of them would say they had above-average kids. To say anything else, is, well, it’s insulting to the child!

Here’s news for you: that’s impossible. If everyone were exceptional … pause for a second to absorb that reality … ‘exceptional’ would be, by definition, ‘average’.

So, this lovely little girl is probably average. Most of us are. If we’re fortunate, we have areas of particular strength or ability that is possibly better/more than average, but, taken as a package, we’re average.

And you know what? That’s okay. You capitalize on your strengths, you work to ameliorate/minimize your weaknesses, and you become the best you can be.

Not everyone can be exceptional. But everyone, barring some unfortunate extremes, can be kind, considerate, polite. Everyone can do their best, can give and take, can contribute to their environment, their family, their society in some positive way.

And that? That is good enough.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | individuality, parenting | , , , , | 19 Comments