December 15, 2010 | Teeny Manolo

Archive for December 15th, 2010

My Kid is Smart. Why Does that Offend You?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
By Glinda

My son is smart.  Really smart.

There, I said it.  Sue me.

And it isn’t just my opinion.  As he gets older and begins taking state tests and computerized reading comprehension tests and the like, it is quite obvious that it isn’t all in my head.  And trust me, most of his teachers have initially heard my characterizations of him at the beginning of the school year with thinly veiled skepticism. Don’t get me wrong, he is no prodigy who is going to graduate from college at age 12. But he is smarter than your average bear. He’s finally at the grade level where he can be referred to the Gifted and Talented program, and I can’t wait for him to start.

Because if there is one thing that other parents cannot stand, is when someone else’s child is smarter than theirs.  In fact, they can take it quite personally.  Witness all the ill-intentioned bumper stickers that stated, “My kid can kick your honor student’s ass” in response to the honor roll stickers that used to be rather ubiquitous, at least in my neck of the woods.

Why would anyone dream of that being appropriate?

If someone has a child who is extremely talented in violin, or baseball, or dance, they have absolutely no qualms about telling any and everyone.  I am often regaled as to how little Jillian is dancing a solo at her competition, or how young Aiden can hit a home run practically every game.  And everyone smiles and congratulates and says how wonderful that must be.

But when it comes to academics, if you have a very intelligent child, and you mention in passing that he reads at an 8th grade level in 2nd grade, you are actually seen as putting other kids down.  Somehow, you are insulting the intelligence of their children if yours happens to outshine them in the academics department.   Never mind that my son doesn’t really care about sports, can’t play an instrument to save his life at this point, nor can he do anything other than some sort of psuedo break-dancing moves that he made up in his head.  There are children in his class who can do these things much better than he can, and more, but because he can take a standardized test and ace it, I have to whisper his accomplishments only to my family and a few really good friends.

Well, I’m tired of trying to dance around the insecurities of everyone else.  I’m not going to go out of my way to brag, but I’m no longer going to play down my son and his impressive accomplishments in the classroom as I have in the past.

When I hear about the skills and talents of other children, I am genuinely happy for them.  Is it wrong for me to expect the same?

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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