I just read this lovely kids book called: The O.K. Book, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. I was so impressed by it's simple, yet direct message that I think it should be required reading for all kids (and all of those kid's parents).The O.K. Book takes young readers through a series of activities that the protagonist is o.k. at, while simultaneously depicting the protagonist having fun doing them. Gasp! You mean we can just be ok at things and enjoy them anyways? We don't have to be great at everything? We don't have to be great at anything? We can just, you know, be? Fabulousness, I tell you.
In the age of rampant parental over-achieving through their children (I'm picturing over-lesson-ing, over-activity-ing, writing-essays-to-get-our-kids-into-Ivy-League-preschools-that-give-littles-hours-of -homework-so-they-become-the-next-Einstein-ing, pageant-entering, blue-ribbon this-ing and that-ing), this book's message is actually kind of radical.
Hey kids - you can just do stuff for the fun of it, and to heck with having to be great at everything all of the time.
Hey adults - your kids can just do stuff for the fun of it, and to heck with your expectations of them heading through the doors of MIT after graduating high school Summa Cum Laude at the age of 14. (First of all, that kids' life sucked. Hard. And secondly, no kid actually wakes up one day and says, "I know, I want to have no friends, no fun, and head off to college so young that not even the best fake ID will buy me a beer.")
As the book rightly explains, we all get really good at something eventually. But we have our whole lives to figure out what that thing or things are.
Kids don't need to be the most graceful child in the room in order to love their way their bodies feel as they wildly twist their bodies in gleeful dance. Kids don't need to score the game-winning goal (or any goal for that matter) to enjoy playing the game. Kids don't need to be Picasso or Georgia O'Keefe in order to take joy out of artistic expression. They don't need to win the race in order to love to run. They don't need to be A students to 'get somewhere' in the world.
The O.K. Book does a great job of reminding us that we have all the time in the world to be really great at something - and in the meantime - we can just enjoy the journey and experimentation that comes along the way.