Monday, September 19, 2005

The Curse of Mediocrity

There are some of us who are just doomed to be "average" or "o.k." at anything we decide to do: not really bad, horrible, or "I totally suck at this", yet not really GOOD, wonderful, or excellent either.

This mediocrity crosses every area of my life.

There are those who are really, really excellent parents and really in touch with their kids. The kind of people who wouldn't think of yelling at their kids, or hiding from their kids. People who LIKE answering "why?" questions. I'm not one of them. But I'm no abusive "bad" parent either; just mediocre.

There are cellists and musicians who are truly inspiring. They have excellent intonation, inspiration, and interpretations; who move people with their artistic renditions of the piece. I'm not one of them. I'm an "o.k./all right/pretty good" amateur cellist. I got into the community orchestra but am technically so far from where I would like to be.

There are writers who move me to tears or leave me in breathless laughter - and then those who just make me stop and REALLY think. I wish I could express myself better with the written word. I like to write - but again, I'm mediocre.

Then there is home schooling. I see home schooling parents who LOVE teaching their children, who embrace it and run with it and delight in searching for the right way to teach concepts to their children. Of course there are "homeschoolers" who really do nothing at all and give home schooling a bad name. Again - in the middle. My dirty secret is that I despise having to try to explain things to the children - especially if they don't get it the first time. I want to tear my hair out if they forget something this week that they KNEW last week. But yet, my children are progressing at grade level. I'm not a BAD home schooling mom - but not one of the good ones either - mediocre again.

Photography - I look on Flickr and I am amazed by the talent of other photographers: the amazing shots and compositions, the depth, the artistry. Something I will probably never attain. At best I can hope to take some "pretty good" photos and most of mine are nothing out of the ordinary.

Mediocrity even surfaces in the kitchen. I can do more than open cans and heat things up in the microwave - but am nowhere near being a really GOOD cook!

This just points out the most obvious but the list could go on and on and on. Practically everything that I do I'm mediocre at, and likely doomed to be the way. You see it was foretold by my high school guidance counsellor.

Anyone remember those aptitude tests they give you in high school to help you choose your "career path"?

Well my results told me that I should NEVER go into any of the following careers:

airplane pilot
bus driver
truck driver
taxi driver

Anyone who know my directional sense (or rather complete lack thereof) knows this is true!

Every single other possible career out of HUNDREDS it said I would be "average" at! So basically I was told I had the aptitude do anything I want as long as I don't expect to be really good at it! 13 years later - that I have to conclude that test was right!


Sunny said...

Well, there is nothing wrong with being all parent all the way like you do. And just doing the best you can under the circumstances. Nothing mediocre about that. I mean, goodness knows, you're in better shape than lots of folks. Are you looking for a career or something? (No, I wouldn't go for airline pilot or anything like it)

LarryandJean said...

Ruminations on Mediocrity and Meritocracy (2nd Iteration – the 1st having succumbed to a “Bill Gates’ Moment”)

It is easy to see the force of the logic put forth in this post. Except for the bothersome observation that being average in a multitude of skills is, in itself is a specialty of extreme rarity.

A good example of this is my years in medical school. In no class was I in the top 10 in my class, yet but being just a bit above the median or middle of the class, at the end of 4 years I was ranked 4th out of a class of 142. Not a mediocre outcome at all!

One could make a very good case that having average, or a bit above average, domestic, educational, musical and athletic skills when combined results in an outstanding overall individual. Hypothetically, of course. Now factor in a household of not the statical 2.1 children but 5 very active, very bright children and you will find that they reduce the most skilled homemaker to a state of humility in short order. We have yet to deal with musical skills that include getting a seat in an orchestra that plays music from bona fide classical opera!

And hey, don’t sell those writing skills short either! You have had more of us in stitches on a regular basis than anyone other than Melony in the days prior to her DH’s ENT cancer recurrence.


Sunny said...

Furthermore, imagine if you were some kind of specialist in some limited field. Why, you'd be expected to spend all your time being the expert and how would you have time for all the else you do? You'd get nothing else done. It would be an absolute disaster.