I had my son’s first parent teacher meeting. He had a glowing report. He is outgoing, makes friends easily, self assured, confident and creative. He expresses his feelings well and is a good communicator. I reported back to granny and she said ‘well done, you can start taking credit for your child’s achievements’. My immediate response was “I don’t think so, that’s a slippery slope” but I needed to think about why my heart was telling me that.
For as long as there have been parents I’m sure parents have been taking credit for their children’s accomplishments. Nowadays if your child is a doctor or lawyer you have won the parenting jackpot and done a good job. But I don’t know if this whole paradigm is a good idea. You see, accomplishments are based on the ideal standard and that in itself is flawed. Right now the ideal standard for my son’s 4 year old class is to be confident and play with other kids, therefore he is excelling. But that is just the type of person that he is. I cannot put that down to parenting. I have just let that grow. I, on the other hand, was more introverted and still am. At thirty I get an opportunity to celebrate my birthday and I chose to do it alone at a yoga mindfulness morning. That’s what makes me happy.
I can’t help but wonder what things would be like if he wasn’t so outgoing. Does that make him less successful? Would that make me a less successful parent? And what happens when the ideal changes? When they introduce maths and science, if it turns out he is more creatively inclined, does that mean my parenting has somehow declined and I am no longer doing a good job?
Don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of him. But then again I will be proud of him whatever he does. And I won’t base my opinion of him or how well he is doing on a standard. And I defiantly won’t base how I feel about my parenting on someone else’s assessment of him meeting that standard.
Maybe we will never hit this wall. Maybe he will always be that outstanding kid with a glowing report. Maybe he will grow up to be a lawyer or heart surgeon. Or maybe he will be a reclusive artist that moves people’s hearts in another way.
What if we shift our purpose…What if producing humans that fit the norm were not the goal? What if the goal were to produce happy humans connected to their true purpose? I can’t help but think that maybe the world would be a better place.