Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Home Education Week Post #5: Talents

Show off those talents. Share a story, a special moment, a piece of artwork. Any accomplishment, great or small, is fair game.

I don't have especially talented kids. They seem to excel at things like tattling, and procrastinating and arguing-- you get the picture. That is when their talents really shine. But none of mine are Einsteins or superstars in sports or dance or music, though once upon a time I thought that life would be that way. That we would be parents that lived on a ballfield because one or more of our sons was a sports hero. I imagined that, with my husband's musical talent and my love of music, at least one of them would be a virtuoso. And, considering that neither my husband nor I were dummies in school, I thought our combined gene pool would produce at least one academic prodigy.

But no. We produced some pretty normal kids.

We got involved in theater when our son became interested when he was about seven. Seeing as how he had no interest in sports, we figured theater would be a good activity for him and put him in lessons and then plays. He paved the way for the rest of our kids, which led to us serving on the board, which led to a whole family that serves and occasionally acts and just generally has a good time. Not a one of ours has had a lead, and that's okay. I hung my stage mom hat up a long time ago and just let it be all about the exposure and the experience.

Our kids also swim on our neighborhood swim team. That is starting up pretty soon so you will hear more about that I am sure. It's a great community builder, that swim team. We enjoy cutting up with the other parents and gathering as a community to cheer our team on at meets. Oh, and playing a wonderful game I like to call, "Keep the toddler out of the pool." Good times. And sometimes my kids get a blue ribbon-- but usually because they were on a winning relay team and hardly ever (never?) because they placed first all on their own. But they do place from time to time and we chalk it up to exposure and experience and great family memories. And we hang those ribbons proudly in their rooms and admit that their favorite part of swimming isn't getting the fastest times but scarfing down late-night fast food with their teammates back at our clubhouse while the ribbons are awarded.

Why am I saying all this? Because I want to bash my kids? No. Because I don't recognize that they each bring something unique to the world that is just their own? No. It's just that sometimes those unique qualities aren't tied to measurable things-- at least not things the world puts a value on.

Mostly, I just want to be honest. To tell all the other parents of average kids out there that it's okay to have kids who are average. I think that there are times for bragging on your kids and being proud of them, but there is also a time to be honest. To not feel compelled to make our kids out to be more than they are capable of living up to. To take the pressure off them and off ourselves. To say, we are ordinary people blessed with the opportunity to live extraordinary lives. Not because of the accolades or accomplishments we collect, but because of the people we encountered and the memories we made. Because when you get right down to it, that is more than enough.
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Laura said...

Oh, this was so good! The pressure for the kids to be GREAT is crazy!

KimAmburn said...

Thank you so much! Sometimes I think every other kid in the world (besides mine) are prodigies. It's nice to hear that other parents like their children to be involved in activities just because they enjoy them - not because they have to be the best.

Jonatha said...

I am so thankful to hear from someone else who has normal kids! I love our normal lives, and my prayer is the race they win is for their faith.

Melissa said...

I think I am the only single girl who loves to read all of the Proverbs 31 blogs! I think 90% of what is on here centers around husbands and children. While I feel out of the loop sometimes being single...I never feel average..! I appreciate your rich relationships and love to read about your lives. I am in a dating relationship right now and would covet your prayers to see if this is God's will for our lives. :-) Thank you and I will continue to read your blogs daily...I feel as if I know you!

Karen said...

I applaud you for this post! There's so much pressure on kids and parents to excel at something. We're preached to that we all have something that we're excellent at. Maybe we're just excellent at being who we are. Why is it so important to constantly measure and award accomplishments? I like that "the people we encountered and the memories we made . . .that is more than enough." Well said.

Billie said...

Thanks for your honesty. It is easy for me to feel down when my kids aren't overachieving compared to what so many other's kis "seem" to be doing.

I will say that your 1 daughter is not average in her love for the Lord (I checked out her blog). That is not normal for the teenage girl and that is so awesome!

That is something to focus on in your next Christmas letter!

Julie said...

Another great post... thank you for this!

Renae said...

I enjoyed this post. Often we put so much pressure on outward appearances that we forget the truly valuable things are internal and, as you stated, unmeasurable.

Peace to you,
Life Nurturing Education

Kelley at Aroma of Joy said...

You are so right! We live in an age of premiere everything and I have to admit, I fall for it as much as the next guy. It requires a deliberate choice not to fall into the competition and pressure around me (especially from a super competitive husband).

We travelled to the AAA World Series in Memphis when my son was 10, and we planned inducing my last baby around the baseball schedule of my then 11 yr.old. Just when I think we are slowing down another season hits. We are travelling out of town 3 times this spring to soccer tournys for my 10 yr. old daughter. Obviously I am not doing to well with that deliberate choice.....

Have a good one,

Celly B said...

Thanks for the reminder to appreciate our children just as God has made them!

Heather said...

My husband and I were both late bloomers. I can't imagine expecting our kids to be super kids anymore than I want to be super mom. It is good that you are allowing them to be themselves.

Mum-me said...

My two eldest children excel at everything they do. My third started school last year and she is still struggling with reading. My husband and I wondered what was going on - why was she not as bright as the other two? Then one day she came home and proudly announced that she had been presented with a special award at school assembly. I was thrilled as I thought '..finally she is good at something.' And when I read the reason for the award I nearly cried. It was for "...being a good friend." What a slap in my face. It was as if God was reminding me that academic and physical(sporting) excellence aren't the only good qualities a person can possess. What could be a more important character trait than the one of "..being a good friend." And then I accidentally found your blog with this post. Not a conincidence. I thank God for using your blog entry & my daughter's special award to teach me something important.