Faking Greatness: An Ode to Real Folks
As someone who barely graduated from high school, struggled against stigma and the elite, I am cheering from the stands at the collegiate scandal rocking the news waves. I will spare you the scoldings and shame on you’s. Most of us have heard it, spoke it, and yelled a few “GO LITTLE GUYS!” in the past few weeks.
Three-fourths of my biological children inherited my husband’s and my “disabled learning” traits. The other fourth, who mystifies and terrifies us, is a genius. We take no credit for the distribution of talent among our children. Truly, what is this monster, called pride, that leads us to believe we might take credit in the accomplishments of our offspring? Similarly, I hope to raise up our two young adopted sons, to have great character. But at this point, there is no telling where their natural abilities might be ascribed. However, it is our social nature to praise the parents and condemn them.
And why is this?
Why am I so harshly criticized when they fail? Wholly a part of me, completely apart from me, a parent’s work is assiduous, thankless, and exhausting. Of my children who struggled, I note great character. And, of my child who can solve for X and recount Shakespeare from memory, I note the same. Clearly, I am not smart enough to figure this out, but please don’t acclaim me.
Because of this, I am left to wonder, what would it be like to have so little faith in your child, and a pocket full of millions, that you would not only break the law but model that for the human you were gifted to nurture?
I cringe at the thought of telling my child, “You are so utterly incapable of success on your own, I will just pay for it.”
Certainly, few of us aren’t offended by the notion. A greater number of us are left wondering about all those left out, who couldn’t afford the high price at the front of the line. I can honestly say, I would rather my child be at the back and know the wait and work in front of them, then instill in them the character of someone who readily cheats to get ahead. Actually, I am here today because of An Open Letter to My Children: You’re Not That Great. And while some of that post has been a headache, I meant it.
If they never struggle, how will they grow? And if they are never lonely, left out, hungry, or cheated, how will they recognize the lonely, left out, hungry, or cheated? Here among the normal folks, I feel a twinge of pride. These are the people that I want my children counted among. Whether Ivy League, trade school, or minimum wage, I would hope, they got there by their own concurrence.
Failing has always been an option at our house.
To fail means at least you tried, even if it was outside of your reach. Greater, even if you failed for not giving your best, at least now you know for sure, “that wasn’t enough.” I am shocked to hear myself say that I feel sorry for those caught in this scandal. Not because they lost their fancy primetime contracts and movie deals.
And not because their children may not continue the façade of the select.
No, I feel sorry that they missed an opportunity to foster grand character and a try hard ethic. At the same time, I have great hope in the character of those who said, “this is wrong.” Given the chance, this is what I would pick for my children. If I had a million dollars, and I was asked to buy a chance for any one of them, that would be my purchase. Decency, a place at the back of the line, a harder road, where they grew in compassion, ethics, and an eye for the all the real folks around them.
May your floors be sticky and you’re calling ordained. Love, Jami
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
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