There comes a time in every parent’s life when you realize that your kid is better than you.
I can clearly remember the first time one of my kids started beating me at board games. And I’m not talking Candyland either. I’m talking about games with actual strategy. It’s gotten to where I expect to lose. It works out for everybody because I seldom cry or quit when I’m losing. I’m pretty sure my kid is smarter than me. (Than I, as that kid would probably say).
Or how about faster and stronger? That’s another one that’s certainly long gone. Off I go, lifting weights and running three days a week, and yet all the kids are pretty much better than me. I can still beat the former preemies at arm wrestling, but that’s about it. The kids I used to have to agonizingly wait for on our walks now run straight out of my sight and forever to the horizon. Even our couch potato kid managed, in just ten weeks of gym class, to run at a pace I’ve been trying to achieve for three years. I know for a fact that the kids are stronger and faster than me.
Do we even need to talk about technological superiority? Not even a question there. We all know who is going to set up the wireless network, fix the computer, and hook up the TV, right? Not only are the kids better than us, we can barely even understand them. That’s not because we’re proud Luddites either. We’re trying, and we actually can’t understand them. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’re a trial to them when we repeatedly mix up “microprocessor” and “microcontroller.”
The kids’ superiority isn’t limited to the universal talents of the young, either. We’ve known for more than a decade that one of the kids is far, far better at remembering what’s on the calendar than I am. There’s another who I’m pretty certain has more spiritual depth than I do. Probably four of them write better, which is pretty much my wheelhouse, so what do you do with that? Others are clearly kinder and even wiser. One of the kids is practically Yoda and regulates the emotions of the entire household. Then, just last week, I overheard a conversation where the kids were “sib-parenting,” correcting some behavior, and thought, “Dang, they’re better parents as well.”
Having your kids pass you by has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. It makes me grateful that our kids don’t have to get all their qualities and talents from us. They draw from so many different people and experiences to become who they are. They also come into the world with unique qualities that I can only understand as gifts. When you look at your child and think, “They sure didn’t get that from me,” it’s humbling and amazing and gratitude-inducing all at once. Take time to appreciate and savor the ways in which your kids are better than you. Humanity depends on their surpassing us, after all.