Should we really aim to be average?
So.. this is partly coming from the perspective as a parent for this post.
The thing, is that Little Bun is sort of unusual in the sense that because we don’t have a television and are not raising him on having one (he has nursery rhymes or videos from Youtube but that’s about it), his brain power seems to need to expend itself on other activities.
As a result, he is 4-years old and…:
- Fully read in English. We’re talking children’s books that have an actual storyline. He gets tripped up on words like “magnificent”, but he can READ without much assistance.
- He also knows quite a lot in his second language but he doesn’t speak it enough to really have the level of proficiency he has in English.
- Do addition and subtraction with any number of digits now – we usually do 4, he pushes me for 5 digits.
- Has started learning multiplication and division – again, he pushed me for this, asking for it because addition & subtraction was “too easy” (his words, not mine)
- Knows all the major flags – he only missed Liberia in this World Flag quiz… and got the rest of them
- Knows a lot of the countries and where they are located on a map – his favourite is Timor-Leste for some reason; I have yet to test him on a blank map and see how many he actually knows
- Knows all the planets and major facts about them like Mercury being the smallest, and Neptune the farthest…
…and I know from other parents with kids of the same age, that this is not typical.
He sucks up everything I throw at him, and I scramble to find other areas of interest he might enjoy.
(I hesitate to use the word ‘normal’ because normal can mean any number of things.)
I am however, getting a lot of mixed unsolicited advice from various parents with children of varying ages (my son’s age, up to being well past university).
There seem to be two sides of the argument here:
“LET HIM LEARN WHATEVER HE WANTS, SO WHAT IF HE IS DIFFERENT?”
This guy is in the minority of parents — he doesn’t see a problem with Little Bun learning more and more and more like some sponge.
He acknowledged that it is a REAL THING that he WILL be bored at school, and you have to learn how to answer to / cope with that.
He tells me that his kids were similar, or have shown even more brilliant signs of intelligence at Little Bun’s age, and he says that what you could do, was to give him extra subjects outside of school if he is bored.
He also said that the pressure of being the best also sometimes weighs on children and you have to be cognizant to not expect them to be perfect but to encourage mistakes.
“HOLD HIM BACK, OR HE WILL BE AN OUTSIDER & BORED IN SCHOOL”
MOST parents, tell me this.
They tell me that I should stop teaching him so much, and to stop letting him learn beyond his age level or else he will really not fit in with the other kids and/or will find himself bored in school.
I am leaning towards ignoring their advice only because I was that kid. I was the one in school who was bored in a sense, and I channeled that boredom into trying to be perfect in every subject.
I spent more time on projects, I really put the effort in, I read more books… whatever you gave me, I tried to do above what the minimum was because the minimum was just not enough for me.
Is that so wrong?
The second bit is about him being an outsider.
Knowing it all, can incite jealousy/envy in other children. I also know this firsthand, having grown up with it (my partner as well).
You have kids making fun of you, teasing you, bullying you, and it can be very isolating.
My son is already displaying tendencies of being an introvert (and I have been reading on advice of a dear reader the book by Cain called Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking), and to have him also enjoy subjects that are more intellectual than physical? I wonder what will happen.
We’re already counteracting this or rounding him out by taking him out to activities like soccer, but is that enough?
I worry a lot about how he will be accepted or not by other children, and more than likely he will have a few good friends rather than a lot, which in some ways, I am relieved by, because I understand that dynamic. I myself, am the same way.
I do not find it odd or for it to be a bad thing for him to be a little quieter and reserved, but other people seem to think differently and find it to be terrible if he isn’t sociable, friendly and outgoing.
I am less concerned about the social aspect only because I am shy and reserved by nature, but have learned to overcome that (obviously).
SO SHOULD WE REALLY AIM TO BE AVERAGE?
I desperately want him to have a good childhood and fit in, but should I be aiming to keep him as average as possible?
Is it not also okay for him to stand out?
It is fine to go with the flow but do we really need more people who are all like each other, thinking and acting in the same way?
I am leaning towards having him stay and be different. If he wants to learn, I will teach him as much as I can and then he is on his own.