Parenting is a challenge unlike any other we will ever face. The task of raising a child (or multiple children) from infancy to productive adulthood — with all its ever-changing complexities and day-to-day nuances — can be daunting. Despite these challenges, we press on. Because we love our kids like crazy — and they are worth it. But disturbing trends in modern society add truckloads of undue pressure to this already stressful task. And this pressure comes most often…from other parents.
Some of the jobs I have held over the years have been downright awful. I remember working one summer during college at a factory that manufactured those hard-shelled briefcases (like the ones James Bond would carry). Every day I woke up early, drove downtown, did 8 hours of manual labor at minimum wage, bought my lunch from a dirty taco truck, and listened to my supervisor try to fit as many vulgar terms for female body parts into one sentence as he could — and he was proficient, let me tell you.
Menial jobs like that one suffocated me because I never felt a passion for hauling briefcase parts from one part of the factory to another for weeks on end. I wanted a job I loved — one that I was passionate about. Oddly enough, I have learned that having a job I love can be even more draining than any of the jobs I hated.
I have often thought about how drastically the process of getting married has changed from when my grandparents were young. For one thing, the time between boy-and-girl-meet and boy-and-girl-marry was much shorter than it is today. Back then, it was relatively common for a courtship to last only a few months. Now it seems commonplace for couples to be engaged for years on end. Many people would say that delaying marriage is a good thing, but I am convinced otherwise.
If you are familiar with the story behind our adoption of Harrison, you will remember that the recurring theme of the entire process was “there has been a change of plan”. Nothing went the way we planned with Harrison’s adoption, and as we set out again on the path of adding to the family, we were taken on another journey that we could never have imagined.
We all want our kids to be successful, to be people who make an impact in the world. No good parent looks at his kid and says, “I just want him to be average,” or “If she could be a follower, I’d be so proud.” Still, the world is full of average people, and society is filled with folks who are followers. At what point do parental desires fail to boost our kids past the
reality that more people are average than are great, and what can we do to make sure our kids don’t fizzle into the haze of averageness?