I have come to the realization that most people would probably do better skipping their first child entirely and just start with child number two or three. By then, parents can actually watch their children have fun without doing the 100 yard sprint every time little Samantha wheezes or baby Damon puts something other than his fingers in his mouth.
By the third child anything other than gravel becomes perfectly acceptable – and if you are lucky enough to get to five children, even that standard is surpassed.
In the name of full disclosure, I was once a first time parent, so, been-there done-that.
My wife gave me this phenomenal insight, when it comes to our kids, we all think big. Especially with the first.
This is a shame on two fronts…
One, because rarely do great children come from parents who just think big. What I mean is, if you want your children to excel then you need to look in the mirror more often.
Let me explain.
Do you "believe in yourself?" Do you think "you have greatness inside you?" Or put it differently, does it do anything to your self-confidence that a cartoon character tells you to close your eyes and just follow your dreams?
No, I didn’t think so. So why should you think your children will either?
These platitudes that seem to fill so many Disney and Pixar movies today are as absurd as they are simplistic. No amount of Buzz Lightyear euphemisms is equal to any amount of parental grit.
The second point is, the skills needed to excel in life rarely have anything to do with the kinds of things parents tend to get unbalanced over. Do you know anyone who is failing in life today because of their poor high school geometry grades? You would think the way some parents push their kids on the soccer field, a goal would bring world peace!
Think about the people you are closest to, and the fundamental mistakes they are making that keep them from getting more out of life. Would their marriage be happier if they had been picked for the high school team or had another zero in their paycheck?
Think of the things you are plagued with. Have they anything to do with anything you learned (or didn’t learn) in any educational institution?
Or, to be crass, is there any correlation between jerks and high school grades?
I don’ t think so.
So why do parents put such emphasis on things that matter so little in being a well-rounded, happy and successful person in life?
With all candor I have to tell you I have kids who have done phenomenally well at school, but I also have kids that have brought the classroom grade average down a few points. I can’t tell you it doesn’t bother me, but I can tell you, none of that ever rose to the level of keeping me up at night like it did for my child who was emotionally troubled.
The job of a school is to teach math and biology, the job of a parent is to teach everything else. It’s true, schools don’t always do a great job, and they sometimes need parental involvement; but if a parent isn’t doing their job, then the people who will step in are not necessarily going to be on your child’s side.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you shouldn’t be concerned about your child’s grades, you should. It’s just that you should be a lot more concerned about the things they don’t grade for.