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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


Averaging out

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We live to compare. We like to think that it's helpful. Until one of your kids starts falling below average. Which is funny, especially if they haven't even started school yet.

One of my kids has what are commonly called 'delays' - a speech delay among some other gross and fine motor skill delays. In all honesty, it isn't something I worry about very often. Everyone always says, don't compare you can't compare. Well, apparently you can, and there are tests for it. With math and numbers and median scales. They can test everything from how a child walks up stairs to how one holds a pencil.

And if they don't do the test correctly, they 'can't' do a skill. Which seems odd. But semantics and oddities aside, it made me think about why we compare - why we want our children to be the best at everything. And it's complicated, because we're people and we make things complicated.

We want things to be easy for our kids, and usually being smarter, faster and better is the way to get ahead. Those qualities are measurable. It's why we have grades for the first few decades of our lives.

One thing that most parenting articles will say is that, as long as your child is moving up the scale, don't worry too much. I think my mom said it best of all: none of these tests, none of these rubrics changes your child. Your kid is still your kid.

You may want a big fat pat on the back because your kid can count backwards from 100 before the age of 3 - proof that you have done your job as a good parent. But you should be just as happy if you're getting a big fat helping hand when you realize your child is falling behind. You haven't failed as a parent. It means you care and you're making sure you're doing what you can to help your children out in the long run.

So that's where I'm trying to keep my head. Delays don't mean much. Being a genius doesn't mean much (sorry geniuses). This isn't to say you shouldn't be proud of your kids, or you shouldn't reach out for help if you think your child needs it. Of course you should, on both counts. What I mean is, it doesn't change who your child is at their core. And they need to be recognized for that just as much, if not more, than where they stand on any chart.

I realize this wasn't as funny as usual, so here's a joke I read on the internet (reddit, specifically): What's blue and not very heavy?

Light blue.

(I'll be here all week).

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 18:27


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