One of the fun parts of parenthood is being your child's biggest cheerleader and most adoring fan. Whether it is the amazing artistic talent hidden in the lines of their coloring books and water-color paintings, the uncanny ability to remember lyrics to songs, or their athletic ability that has future star potential, the parent has the knack to see these abilities perhaps hidden from others, and hold to the possibility of having their very own outlier.
Pre-Game Smile For instance, the other day, I was thinking about the Upward soccer season which is just around the corner, and how excited I am. I pictured my daughter nut-megging the midfielder, and passing to the wing for the cross. She then buries the ball in the back of the net with a header. Now, this is quite a lofty vision for a five year old, but that is what we parents do, right?
Also, this past weekend, my daughter swam the length of our neighborhood pool; the farthest she has swam. I was amazed to see her accomplish the feat. In fact, any type of accomplishment; reading new words, solving simple math problems, painting a pretty water color, puts my imagination at work in envisioning a possible prodigy!
I see this common characteristic in other parents I know, including my own. My mother, in particular, has always thought me and my siblings could do anything! Nice to have such confidence.
My dad, who was the first in his family to attend college, ultimately studying beyond a master's degree, always said he hoped his children would achieve more success and happiness than he did. I personally hope I achieve as much as he has! However, the point is that I see his hope in his children to reach higher success as another example of the parent's faith in the child to do amazing things, and more fundamentally, part of the parental love.
When Hadley was six months old, we all went to Boston for a week. While there, Hadley and I took a stroll over to Cambridge. We went to the campus of Harvard and just enjoyed the grounds. It was a beautiful day and the energy there was filled with history and progress. I told Hadley, "here is where you'll be going to college!" I'm pretty sure she got it. We took pictures and took a little self-guided tour, while I suggested maybe Laura and I would move up to Cambridge while she attended the school.
Of course, it was all in fun, and I realize success does not hinge on fancy schools, money, or high-powered careers. However, through the fantasies of a common benchmarks of success such as receiving a Harvard education, becoming a doctor or lawyer, or even a movie or NBA star, the parent shows the faith and hope he has for his child's happiness in life. It is a simple wish for the child to find security and satisfaction while living up to unknown potential.
(Realistically, when the soccer season starts, I'll be thrilled with Hadley kicking the ball down the field a couple of times and having fun. As you can see, maybe soccer's not her thing)