Just Average

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Uh-oh. I've caught myself doing it again. Comparing my kids to other people's kids. You would think I should know better by now.

I remember worrying when my baby didn't walk as soon as "most" babies. I worried when my preschooler didn't talk as plain as "most" tots. I worried when my kindergartener didn't learn to read as fast as "most" kids.

Yep. I was convinced it was me. I was doing something wrong. My kids were not above-average, and they really ought to be, right? I mean, any homeschool mom worth her salt has above-average children. Just read the glowing testimonials in the Sonlight catalog. That proves it. Doesn't it?

The fact of the matter is, somebody has to have average kids for there to be above-average kids. Turns out one of mine is average, and the other is actually--gasp!--below-average. And you know what? That's okay.

My oldest daughter graduated from high school this spring. She won't be going off to college like Judy's and Jill's children. They are rightfully proud of their children, but when I read their posts I began to second-guess myself again. Did I do something wrong? Why isn't my daughter academically inclined like theirs? It must be my fault.

Um. No. It isn't. We are all different. We all have strengths and weaknesses. I have to remind myself not to compare my weaknesses (or my children's weaknesses) to other people's strengths. When I remember that my daughter has above-average character and a gift for hospitality I realize that it's really okay that she has no interest or aptitude for going to college. God has a plan for her life just as He does for those with more "book smarts." We can't wait to find out what it is!

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
Psalm 139:16-17

Enjoying the adventure,
~Karla Cook
Lifelong Learner

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  1. Summersnow

    I was just thinking this the other day. I have a friend whose children are in ps--gifted up the wazoo and in advanced everything in school. All our lives together has been a silent competition which has me tied in knots. Every prolonged encounter has me second guessing my "average" kids.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. katieb

    Thanks for this Karla! It really is nice to know I'm not the only one with an 'average' daughter graduating who also is not going off to college with all kinds of scholarships like, seemingly, everyone else's kids........on every homeschool chat board I frequent! It's daunting and has made me feel like a failure too. I also have to remind myself that society's plan is "College for All", but God's plan isn't always that cut and dry :) We do have to have faith and trust that God does have special plans for these kids who have non-academic gifts that are just as valuable to society---just not as openly visible sometimes. Now the hard part is watching friends, even long time homeschool friends, move away from friendship because she is choosing a different path...

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post. I think that this is something *ALL* mothers struggle with. (No matter what type of schooling they choose!) However, I think it is something homeschooling mama's especially struggle with. Anytime you choose to make a choice opposite the mainstream, it usually means there will be times of doubt and fear. But the thing to remember is fear, worry, and doubt are not from the LORD! (At least, I find myself reminding myself of that several times per day! Yep, I struggle with comparisons too! :) )

  4. Michael Ann

    Well said, Karla! I think a lot of us struggle with this sometimes. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Jana C

    Awesome post. Of my 3 graduates, 2 were average, 1 was ahead of the curve. Two of them are now in the military taking some college courses. The other has finished college and is a stay at home mom. None of them did what I expected. They excel in their own ways, and I am very proud of them. Can't wait to see what the two little ones turn out to be someday. ;-)

  6. ChristinaB

    Hear, hear! With four of my five children struggling with pretty serious learning disabilities (and really, #5 is too young to know yet), I grow weary of hearing about how great and academically advanced everyone else is. Knowledge and education are extremely important to me, but all I desire for my boys is that they grow up to be good husbands, fathers, and providers. All I want for my daughter is for her to love being a wife and mother. Those are the "gifts and talents" I hope to cultivate in them.

  7. Thank you.

    The verse is just what I need to propel me onward in my parenting of these uniquely created gifts that I've been given.


  8. Jeff Hoots

    Oh, if only all kids could be above average!

    (Apologies to Garrsion Keiler and Prairie Home Companion)

  9. Karla, This was a fabulous post. You are so very very right on. HHHmmm somewhere in the New Testament (forgive me for not immediately knowing chapter and verse) I'm almost certain that it
    says we are to be imitators of Christ. Wow! we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others that it leaves no time for imitating Him!I tell my children that above all other successes or failures I want them to pursue Christ with passion. And no amount of teaching or training on my part or anyone elses can MAKE them do that. They must come to Him on their own so to speak. And yes (shaking head in shame) I struggle with comparison also.

  10. Sue S.

    Thank you all for being the voice of God to me this morning! He keeps reminding me that He called me to this adventure with my 15 yr. old daughter, so He will provide us both with everything we need and all that He intends to teach us both. Apparently this has alot more to do with our hearts than academics. Though we are jumping through those necessary hoops, her excelling in that area with "straight A's" was never to be the focus. I've known that from the beginning, but struggle almost daily with trying to force her into a " student" mold from which God did not form her.

    Pressing on toward the goal of the upward call of God thru Christ Jesus!

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