I read recently that I live in one of the top school districts in the U.S. I’m not bragging, I just know it to be true. I also know how fortunate we are in that none of it was our planning to be here. #Godthing And though my kids are getting a top notch education, what that translates into is a lot of competition…and not just among the kids. You see it in the parents as well.
Parents have “portfolios” for their kids starting in elementary school. That’s where, if a kid didn’t make the cut for the “gifted” program, the parent then keeps track of extraordinary things their kid does. For example, solving an engineering problem using their Legos, or if you catch them doing things above and beyond their grade level, then record it and put it in your own private portfolio for your child. Then the parent can present it to the powers that be to petition for their child to be in the gifted program. I thought that was called “creative play.”
After a recent conversation with friends who have a child going into college next year, I was floored at how “behind” my average kids are (mind you, they are 14 and 10). They aren’t in AP classes, they aren’t at the top of their class, and they aren’t even in the “gifted” programs. Some school districts across the country don’t even have gifted programs anymore. My kids are just…well…average. Maybe a little above average, but definitely not off of any charts. I believe the word used on their latest testing was “Proficient.”
And I couldn’t be more proud of them.
I’m proud because they try their hardest. I’m proud because they go out for things that may seem beyond them, like the Math Olympiad, and they realize that success is its own reward.
Do I want the best for them? Of course. Do I think they’ll reach their fullest potential? You bet. Are they going to get lost in mediocrity because some of their peers have excelled far beyond expectations? No way!
Average isn’t so bad. Average flies under the radar and always has room to improve. When an average kid receives accolades for a job well done, their faces beam, their pride swells. When Average does better than average, people applaud, and stand up and take notice.
Sometimes Average isn’t “average” at all. Average is just extraordinary waiting to blossom, waiting for their moment to shine, waiting to be discovered, or waiting to discover what they love to do.
Average is welcome in my home. Average is applauded when they study as hard as they can and still get a “B.” Average is commended when they practice their hardest and don’t make the All Star Team.
I hope that colleges will accept “average.” I hope that, contrary to what I’ve heard, colleges will look at the whole person and not just their test scores. Because if a piece of paper is what kids are judged on, then colleges are sorely missing out. Average keeps the world turning and keeps the dreamers dreaming.
I’m raising average children and I couldn’t be more proud.