Anton Goryunov writes from Moscow: I bet you probably met parents who would tell you that their children were remarkably gifted. Exhibiting raw talents of unique kind – from the earliest days of their existence. Multicapable, multicultural, multitalented, multilingual, erudite, quick learners, great communicators, articulate, deep thinkers, obsessed with reading classics and listening to classical music.
Outstanding kids, perfect in every sense. Walk on water when they have a spare moment in their busy schedule of drilling through the granite of knowledge, learning new things every day and loving their mamas and papas to bits, preferring to spend more time with them rather than hang out with their friends or spend hours playing computer games or watching the box.
I’ve heard stories like that countless times. And when I sometimes bumped into those ‘wonder kids’, I usually found them to be quite ordinary and sometimes even not bright at all. And they would not be very articulate and wouldn’t say anything of any interest. And the books they liked would turn out to be some trashy harry potters and the music they listened to would be some lady gagas.
But, of course, their parents would tell me that their sons and daughters were too shy in my presence, to show off their full intellectual potential. And that the shitty books they were holding and the crappy music they were listening to was ‘just a bit of fun really’, a rare break from classics that they were so used to.
Yeah, sure, f..king angels in all but appearance.
And now let me tell you why some parents praise their off-springs so much. It’s because they are actually praising themselves. Look at our children, they would basically be saying, while banging on about their talented youths. You probably thought that we were average people, with no talents, but you were wrong. We are extraordinary, with remarkable gifts hidden in our genes. We passed all that knowledge to our children, who grew up to be geniuses under our thoughtful guidance. They are talented because they have inherited their wisdom from us. Yes, us, whom you considered to be boring non-entities.
This is usually the underlying message that comes from parents who tend to praise their children too much. What they are actually doing is paying tribute to themselves rather than to their offspring.
And now comes the killer conclusion. Drums, lights dimmed: the thing is, people, that mediocrity always praises itself, losing all sense of proportion along the way. Talented people are mostly embarrassed to talk about themselves and their really gifted children in such a persistent manner. They usually say that their children are good kids, but no geniuses. they never overdo it with praising their intelligence. They do think of them as beautiful, especially their mothers, but they don’t try to convince everyone that their children posses unique talents – even if they do.
Children of ‘adoring’ parents usually grow up to be very arrogant, not very bright, but determined to succeed at any cost. And they often do – just look at Boris Johnson. But we all suffer as a result of that.
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