Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Destined for Mediocrity

I watched a mother walk out onto a basketball court filled with a ton of kids.  I watched her grab her son by the arm and pull him off the court.  Then I listened to her berate her son about how he isn't even trying, he is putting in no effort and she wished he was the one that was hit in the face with the ball and got a bloody nose (seriously, it was a gusher), because then at least he'd have a reason to be lazy.  The boy was 5, maybe 6, but starting Kindergarten in August and taking a week long basketball camp at the high school.  She then sat him on the sideline and told the "coach" (Varsity player leading their scrimmage) to put in a new kid, because anyone would do a better job.

I learned something about Will today as I watched that mother destroy her little boy.  He will never be exceptional if that is what it takes to make an exceptional basketball player.  He is destined for mediocrity, because that is the kind of mother that I will never be.

On a different level, I saw that kind of extreme pushing while dropping Tabbi off at her theater camp.  This is a camp for kids from around 8ish to teen to train kids to learn all aspects of theater, ending in a camp-wide performance of Annie Jr., a shortened version of the musical.  Everyone gets a part.  They have two weeks to pull it off.  Only parents will attend.  Short version... it ain't Broadway, ok.  The leaders are trying to teach the kids how to do auditions, so today they requested that the kids come in professional audition attire... aka no shorts and jeans.  Tabbi picked her new white lace skirt and teal shirt and she looked very pretty.  I drop her off and pull away and see Little Orphan Annie emerge from her mother's Sienna.  Curls.  Red Dress.  White shoes.  White socks folded over.  I have a feeling her face had freshly painted freckles on it if I would have gotten close enough to see them.  Talk about pressure on the girl, intimidation for the rest of the kids with a dash of "you really have nothing better to do?"on the side.

I learned something about Tabbi as I watched that Toddler in Tiara's retiree walk into the church building.  Tabbi is never going to be a star.  If that is what it takes to get your name up in lights (or typed into a Word doc), then she won't get it.  She is destined for mediocrity, because that is the kind of mother I will never be.

I give Will a pep talk going into basketball.  He's hard on himself and he needs the little, "you're here to learn and have fun and give it your all" talk or he will work himself into a tizzy because he's not the fastest, best shooter, heck he's not even the tallest this time.  So, I support him and give him a talk.  I support Tabbi by telling her that while she is not the next American Idol, she can still do this.  Sing with confidence, carry a tune.  No one's going to walk in there ready to cut their own album, and while she probably does not have the vocal instrument to be a Broadway leading lady, she can do this.  She can act and God knows she has drama down pat.  But if she owns it, and she's expressive.... she can do it.  And if she's more chorus than super star, so be it.  Its her first foray into the theater world.  Have fun.  Learn.  Own the role, no matter the size.  That's the mother I am. 

And maybe, they'll surprise me.  Maybe Will is going to have a  basketball career, and maybe Tabbi will be a star, but if I have to be that kind of mother to get them there, I'd rather have mediocre instead.

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