The Law of Averages

The Law of Averages

It is amazing how many children are talented and gifted these days…or let me put it another way, how many parents believe that their child is talented and gifted.  Many parents not only overstate their child’s abilities but they truly believe they have begotten the next Albert Einstein or Jesus of Nazareth (–is that too much, lol) .  It appears that the law of averages has been forgotten amongst a large portion of parents as 8 out of 10 parents will or would claim that their child is above average and is talented and gifted.  Sorry, it is just not true.  Your kid may read and write well for his age but that doesn’t qualify him as the next John Steinbeck.   Sure he can throw a football, doesn’t mean he is Walter Payton.  My daughter can act, doesn’t mean she is the next Katharine Hepburn – nor do I let her think she will be.  It’s great to encourage our kids and watch them learn and excel  but let’s not fill their head with hot air and over-inflate their abilities.  We keep over inflating their abilities and suddenly we have a population that all thinks they are incredible when in fact they are just average and our nation suddenly comes to a standstill as none of these kids are actually as special as they have been lead to believe and really can’t come up with a creative thought, idea, artwork, performance, invention or analysis.  They are now out into the real world facing the reality that they “aren’t all that” and their world will come crashing down and they will inevitably blame their parents (after all, it was the parents who spoon fed their children fallacies).   So not only are we setting them up for failure, we are setting them up to dislike us.  Let’s tell our children they are good at certain things and not good at other things.  Be honest about their abilities – “yes, you can throw a football but your catching isn’t so great, how about we practice that.  Oh and by the way little Jimmy, you need to do better in math as very few people ever get to the NFL. Your education is just as important as your sports.  Your hard work in school and after-school activities will pay off”.  Teach them to work hard with what they have, practice with them on what they are lacking – because every kid lacks something and most kids are just average.


3 responses »

  1. I cannot entirely agree with nor do I entirely disagree with this. All I can say is that I do believe that each person possesses something valuable and utterly unique. How can we in a world full of billions of people ever feel that our time on this Earth is worth anything without that. We are each created uniquely and in some way we are very special and stand out from others.
    However, I do understand the idea that we shouldn’t pump our children’s heads with lies. I think you make a very valid point. That point to me is that it is not in our performance or what we “do” and it isn’t fair to mislead a child in their ability to perform a given task.
    As for my children. I have always told them they are wonderful and terrific. I know they hold something special inside that I may not even have knowledge of. That is be for them to figure it out.
    I also always say, “people do the best they can at that moment in time”. We are not all winners nor are we winners all the time. We make many mistakes, repeat them endlessly often times and it takes us a long time to figure out who we really are.
    I think balance is what you speak of. But, if someone does not instill that we have something special to give this world, then why would we ever search for that within ourselves? I don’t believe there is any harm in telling your children that they are wonderful, special and unique. That is true. It must also be balanced with the reality that there is probably only one thing that we can really excel at. That takes a life time to discover and develop. But, certainly let them try anything that they are interested in. There is no harm in them experimenting with a variety of activities early to help them in the process of uncovering their gifts.
    On a personal note, my mother has always told me I was special and wonderful. My actions in life may not have mimicked that and I haven’t always agreed with her. However, as I have moved through life do believe it now. There are somethings I am horrible at, somethings I am average at and a couple of things that I excel at which I would use to define why I am special and unique. It is our being that is special and what we do is our avenue of expressesion.

  2. @ Elizabeth – Balance is what I speak of and every child does certainly contain something special! And I agree with experimenting with a variety of activities – just no harm in acknowledging when one activity may not be “their” activity to focus on. But also knowing that they can do it w/o being the best. My son’s baseball team this year, again is losing each and every game. Yet, he still loves to play and I encourage it. But he doesn’t need a trophy at the end of this season. It is a balance!

  3. Yes, I agree we can do and kids can do many things without being the best. That is a great point.
    Thank-You for broaching the subject. I think that this is important for us to think about and recognize.

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