Does it seem like every second schoolkid is exceptional? Well, I’m here to put my hand up and say, “not mine”.
My kids are average, and I am okay with that.
They are absolutely exceptional to me, but they are not exceptional at anything in particular.
To be truthful, they aren’t particularly talented. They are average in school and average at sport. They tried piano – and weren’t really that good. They play soccer and tennis and do okay, but nothing special.
My seven-year old just competed at the school swimming carnival and scored a very impressive third, out of a field of six.
His four-year-old sister really likes ballet, but is never going to be a prima ballerina.
In a time of the exceptionally-talented, high-achieving children you encounter at every turn, my three fit right smack-bang in the mid-range.
Don’t get me wrong, my three kids are the love of my life – they are funny and sweet and loving, they are silly and kind and crazy at times, they play together as well as they fight and they drive me up the wall as much as they make me catch my breath with love.
But they aren’t’ top of the class, or winning school debates, they aren’t Gifted and Talented, or winning awards at every turn.
They are just kids. And to me – that’s just fine.
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With my first I measured and scrutinised every other baby in mothers’ group alongside him – just as much as the other mums did.
“Who talked first? Who walked first? Oh, Chelsea just loves books, I am sure she will start reading soon. Have you heard Jack beat that Fisherprice drum? We’re thinking of enrolling him in junior piano.”
Those first few years of parenting are a minefield. This tiny being holds so much potential for the future and you just want to grab it and mold it.
Will he be musical, or sporting? Oh, look at how he draws. Have you seen him write his name?
You struggle to contain your ambitions for them.
As they get older, the world becomes competitive around you. From the minute you hit kindergarten reading levels, it’s on. Mothers talk of OC classes and selective schools. Phrases like Gifted and Talented crop up in conversations daily. The world of Saturday sports becomes about squads and the firsts.