Ordinary isn’t a dirty word

If you are like me, you have had enough of those bumper stickers, holiday letters and Facebook postings extolling the excellence of the extraordinary children out there.

Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed with two beautiful daughters. But is there something wrong in today’s society with ordinariness? It seems like that has become a dirty word.

The market abounds with tutoring centers, sports clinic facilities, music classes for newborns. You name it and it probably exists.

The market is booming because it is motivated by fear-fear of having an average child. Embarrassingly, I am not immune to the siren call of desiring overachieving children.

I recently reduced my 13-year-old to tears over a “B.” What message am I sending her, and is it worth her starting down the road to lifelong anxiety and stress?

My younger daughter loves soccer, but in all probability will never be the one scoring the game-winning goal. But did I accept that? No, I felt the pressure to enroll her in expensive classes to refine her skills. Guess what? They didn’t work.

She is just your average kid out there kicking away at the ball haphazardly on a Saturday afternoon. I am just grateful I did not manage to take her joy and love of the game away.

That is my concern. When all this achievement and the need to find your child’s talents from an early age is stressed, maybe we are missing the people they are deep inside.

Maybe if just one parent has the courage to extol the virtues of their “ordinary” child, it would give others the permission to enjoy theirs.

Maybe my shelves aren’t lined with awards or certificates, but as my teenage daughter voluntarily tells me about her day or my 10-year-old grabs my hand in front of her friends, I realize I am OK with ordinary because it is those unwritten-about moments that are extraordinary.

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