Seems everywhere I go nowadays kids are told to be mediocre. Don’t be too good at something. Don’t get overly excited or enthusiastic. Just blend into the crowd. Fit into a nice little mould we have for you.
The rationale behind this appears to be so those kids who are slightly less motivated don’t feel bad about themselves. Wah?!
So let me get this straight. We’ll take an enthusiastic, competitive, high achieving kid and dumb him down to the lowest common denominator?? That’s bogus!
Everyone’s a Winner
This was played out for me again this weekend when I took my oldest son to his weekly basketball match.
They don’t take scores. Apparently this is so the losing team doesn’t feel bad about themselves. What a crock! Trust me, the kids are keeping scores and they know exactly who the winners and losers are.
It seems this is a growing trend as the local football associations have stopped taking scores as well. “Everyone’s a winner!”, they say. Wrong! If nobody wins, everyone’s really a loser.
Dash summed it up well in the movie “The Incredibles”:
Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.
Mum: Everyone’s special, Dash.
Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.
The thing is in life there are always going to be winners and losers. The sooner our kids realize this the better. And winning is a whole heap better than losing!
Everyone’s an Equal
Back to my sons basketball game.
There are a small number of kids who are really good and the rest are kinda average. This means the good kids spend a considerable portion of each game ‘ceding’ possession over to the average kids. So rather than testing the limits of their abilities they dial it back, play within themselves and sink to the level of everyone else.
So yep, everyone’s an equal… equal parts average!
Now I completely understand that all of the kids need to be involved. You want to ensure each kid stays interested. It’s pretty hard to do that if you have one kid who is a super star and hogs the ball all the time.
Where this becomes a problem is when you get young people auditioning for American Idol who completely and utterly suck! Because they’ve always been wrapped in cotton wool and treated as an equal they get the rudest shock of their life!
What’s my point?
I know this sounds like a rant on my behalf and you’re right. I do have several important points to make though:
1. Be your kids biggest supporter
The world is going to beat them down and others will want to stifle their enthusiasm. Do not let this happen.
Encourage the heck out of your kids! You should be the one person who they can find safety and security in. Fight the urge to criticize, bite your tongue and instead look for the one thing you can praise.
2. Be real with your kids
On the other hand in all things there must be balance. So if your kid really sucks at something be real with them. It’s better that you break the news to them gently and compassionately now than have some jerk do it callously later.
The thing is your kid will be good at something. It’s up to you to seek it out, find it, cultivate it and make it blossom.
3. Be a champion of greatness
Never let your kids get away with mediocre effort. It’s a blight on them, their colleagues and you. Make sure they are always bettering themselves. Let them know that there is nothing wrong with being great even if others are jealous.
Teach them the importance of reaching their potential versus comparing themselves against others. Deep inside we know when we have potential to rise to greater heights. Make sure to foster this within your child so you can have honest and open conversations together.
The above examples have been in relation to our kids but it applies just the same to us. So let me make it a bit more personal.
How are we really going with your desire to be a legendary dad? Are you settle for mediocrity? Are you being real with yourself about your current parenting ability? Are you reaching your legendary dad potential or just going through the motions?
I encourage you, “Forget Mediocre, Aim for Greatness!”
Note: I love my sons basketball team. The coach is amazing and all the kids put in 100% each week.