I recently overheard some moms talking about which math and reading groups their children are in. They were naming and analyzing the kids in each group to figure out which group had the smartest kids, obviously taking pride if their children were in the 'smart' group. It made me angry. Who were they to judge other people's children and decide who is smart, who is average and the worst fate of all, who is below average? Being in the highest level doesn't make you smart and being in the lowest level does not make you stupid. There are no groups that help parents to judge if their child is kind, has a good sense of humor or is a good friend and shouldn't we be more concerned with those qualities?
When Mikias was in first grade, he was at soccer practice and the coach had the kids doing one on one drills. One boy, who is clearly a natural athlete, was paired up against Mikias. The boy loudly said "too easy" as if my son wasn't enough of a challenge for him. I was appalled, and looked at the boys dad, who I figured would reprimand his son for being rude to Mikias. Instead the dad nodded in agreement and mouthed out to his son "kick his butt". This dad was completely invested in his son's athleticism, to the point that he wanted him to dominate even his own teammates. Whenever I see that dad around town, I give him the evil eye. I am pretty sure he hasn't noticed yet.
Kids come to us with a range of gifts and abilities that have nothing to do with us as parents. You cannot take credit for the genes you pass along (or assume your awesome parenting skills are what makes your adopted child a success in a certain area). It is not a reflection on you if you child is gifted, average, autistic, has a learning disability, is a natural athlete or a klutz. I am not saying we don't influence our children or that the kind of adults they turn out to be is completely out out of our hands..... but can't we stop comparing?
Many parents see their children's successes as their own. A pat on their own back for a job well done. It puts pressure on kids for all the wrong reasons. Don't get me wrong, parents should take pride in their children, encourage them where they are strong and help them where they are not. Our children can't all be the best, but they all can be their best. Our children are so much more that whatever group they are placed in or team they are on. Let's put our pride aside, and help our kids be the best they can be.