Monday, March 12, 2012

The Plight of Excellence: Overwhelmed or Unchallenged?

My good sister-friend posted this link on FB today:

And of course it prompted an interesting discussion about how much we are exposing our children to in order to ensure making the best people we can possibly make. Another friend (this is the greatest thing about Facebook, a countrywide discussion amongst friends), who is not a parent took the stance of "why not let the kids be kids". Admittedly, when I was not somebody's mother I felt the same way. Is it harsh to have the children in music classes, multiple language classes, structure play groups, arts classes, etc. and dare I say SCHOOL when they are only 2 years old? 

The article posted is about those parents so obsessed with excellence that they are enrolling their children on the waiting list for the best programs while in the womb. Is that insanity or really smart planning? Honestly, I'm not sure. Hindsight and all, if I knew about the different activities and programs, that I didn't know about 3 years ago, how much more advanced would my child be? Who is really to say? I like to think that I expose my child to a great deal but I do know mothers who do way more than I and their children reflect their respective experiences. Is the quest for the super smart, well adapted children giving way to a society of toddlers/children that just may not be having any fun? 

Coming from a household of strict higher education, I think "fun" may have been overrated for quite some time now. Not to say that I don't want my child to have fun, be silly and do what children do. It just seems to me that to some extent, over the past 20 years, while our children were having fun a good part of the world has surpassed us on so many levels. Our public educational system has become an exercise in futility and purely classicist. There are children in both urban and suburban areas who have very limited skills and capacity. Technology, if used improperly, has paved a way of critical thinking lethargy!

For a long time I had no desire to have a child. I always considered myself too self absorbed to share my life. Then with my first miscarriage the reality of inevitability becoming a mother was intensely overwhelming. In my periphery, I started to listen more carefully to educational statistics. Closely, I watched my family and friends mature through their mothering process and observed lifestyle changes. I paid more attention with what would seem to be a very clinical eye. One conclusion made was that you really needed to have a viable working plan in order to raise a good child. It would seem that when people don't plan to have the child, the child has no plan to grow. Conversely, I did not plan to have a child but through my earlier loss I did develop a contingency plan, in the event of having a child. So far my child is doing well with the parts of the plan I have implemented thus far but I am clear that she is an individual and will definitely deviate from the plan at some point. Am I prepared? Possibly. One should always have a working Plan B! And C, or D!!!

My daughter will continue to grow into an extraordinary person, and with the Grace of God protecting her all I can ask is that she continue to be great, productive person and excel. 



  1. Awesome! Reminds me of Tiger Mom... I do believe in excellence but with some balance (neither extreme). Especially after reading that Yale study showing that from kindergarten all the way through college—regardless of socioeconomic background—Black boys receive harsher punishment, lower grades and less attention. It's my PRIMARY job to ensure their educational trajectory is on course 

  2. There is something to be said for "Homeschooling". It would seem that that too is a luxury!

    I'm sure you saw this!