Lucas is one of the smartest 2 ½ year olds I know. No, seriously. He knows his ABCs, can count to 16, can put in a DVD and turn on the DVD player, among other amazingly advanced feats. And I am sure that my friend Shelly would say her son Aidan is one of the smartest toddlers she knows. As would my friend Lisa about her daughter Lainey. And Caroline about Sam. And my sister about all of her kids!
So if all of our kids are so smart, then doesn't it beg the question, whose kids are not so smart?
I was smacked in the face with this question when I came across the following factoid in this month's Parenting magazine — a whopping 97 percent of parents who responded to the back-to-school poll said their child(ren) were "advanced in some way." Wow! If 97 percent of children really are advanced, then we are raising a brilliant society and the U.S. will definitely now retain the moniker "Super Power of the World"!
I realized the strength of parental pride long before I read Parenting or had friends with kids. In fact, I have found that parental pride starts early and rears its head often. And it's not limited to intelligence!
For example, this past weekend, Lucas wanted a hamburger and a "bone" (aka bun) for dinner, so hubby and I carted the kiddos off to a local burger joint. While we were enjoying our greasy meal, a waitress came over to admire Justin, who has just turned the ripe old age of 5 months. Turns out the waitress has a 4-month-old, and she didn't waste any time telling hubby and me how her son is sitting up unassisted, is trying to crawl, and can even pull himself up from sitting to standing.
While hubby and I politely nodded and replied with the requisite "ooohs" and "aaahs," I kept thinking to myself, Oh yeah? Well, Justin does a dead-on impersonation of a sack of potatoes. But would I dare admit such a thing to anyone, especially a stranger? Of course not, because Justin, I am sure, is just as advanced as his brother both physically and intellectually — it's just a matter of time!
So even if 97 percent of kids truly are not advanced in some way and Lucas belongs to that unfortunate category called average, parents need not worry. It's all perspective. I am convinced that no harm is being done by conveying to one's child how brilliant or advanced he is. In fact, I would hope the opposite is true — that if we as parents believe our children are superstars, then hopefully our children will believe it too. And we will have given our children the confidence needed to be successful in school and in life.