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In which it takes a lot of luck

I was in the shower and I just wrote the most AMAZING post! Of course, it was in my head and never got written down so now it’s lost.  I got out and thought about trying to recapture the thoughts, the moment but alas my brain had moved on to something else.


What was the something else? Well, I won’t go through the process of how I got from hither to yon but the end result was the thought “it takes a lot of luck to raise successful children.”


You know how people like to take the credit when their child does something extraordinary?  No doubt, these parents had something to do with the success but it’s honestly a whole series of factors, many of them out of your control.


For example, in our family the oldest child set the tone.  This can always be for better or for worse but in this case it was for better.  Keely, like her father, is a fairly driven person.  She strives to do her best and is a bit of a perfectionist.  I find it ironic because I’m totally a “good enough” type of person. For me, if something works, don’t bother looking closely to see if it’s done properly.


Because Keely swam when she was young, she would come home from school at 3:00 and do her homework.  She was competitive and always wanted to be the best.  The fact that she wasn’t the best didn’t deter her; it just made her work harder.  As a result Andie, who was only one year younger, didn’t want to be known as the “dumb MacDonald” so she also tried to do well.


Were they smart? Yeah, they were but that wasn’t the only reason for their success. You see, Keely’s personality combined with Andie’s “I wanna keep up” attitude ensured that they would do well academically.  Daniel, who was 3 years younger, thought homework directly following school was required.  We never told him it was but we also never told him it wasn’t.


I remember listening to some mother’s of boys pondering how in the world to get their boys to do their homework? It was a struggle.  We never had that problem because I think Daniel always thought that’s just the way it was.


So lucky thing number one is the TONE of the first child.  I do know of people whose first child isn’t an achiever and the second is but I also know of so many cases where the other kids follow the first ones work habits.


Another way of being lucky is your kid’s friends.  In our case, most of Keely’s friends were swimmers.  Swimming takes a lot of time therefore you have to be very organized.  Between school and swimming there wasn’t a lot of time to get into trouble.  So, the fact that my kids were very involved with sports and therefore busy was incredibly helpful.


Most of the people they hung out with didn’t really have time to get into trouble therefore, at their most vulnerable stages; they didn’t have a lot of bad influences.  So often, one bad choice can leave a kid down a bad path.


So lucky thing number two is the PEER GROUP of the child.


Then of course, there are environmental factors like parental interaction, positive feedback and influence as well as hereditary factors like brains and such.


However, I know plenty of people with a LOT going for them who have screwed up and plenty of people with the deck stacked against them who have succeeded against all odds.


I think sometimes, it’s like a pinball machine.  Sure there are things you can control but sometimes it’s just the angle you hit the bumper at that makes you go off into a certain direction.


What’s my point? Did I say I had one?  I guess the point is that as a parent you can influence all you can and do the best job you can but still, some of the outcome depends on luck.  At least, that’s my opinion but feel free to give me yours.

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  1. By Word of Mouth Musings
    November 20, 2012

    Genes … you have good genes … and attitude.
    And a good balance, openness, honesty – I think you can take some credit here!
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently posted..Write your story, from beginning to end.My Profile

    • Lynn
      November 20, 2012

      awww Nicole…my kids turned out in SPITE of me, not because of me :)) but thanks

  2. Julie
    November 20, 2012

    Dead on.

    • Lynn
      November 20, 2012

      I think you agree with me more than any single person I know

      • Julie
        November 20, 2012

        Perhaps were were twins separated at birth? Or just two common sense women?

        • Lynn
          November 20, 2012

          possibly the latter…i think i would have known if i had a twin by now

  3. Jester Queen
    November 20, 2012

    Wait – wait… but you were vexed with the possibility of Daniel being a ‘good enough’ student at Duke. I always figured you were the driven one for that reason!!

    • Lynn
      November 20, 2012

      I was concerned that his “issues” would make it a struggle for him to be successful… well, that and his attitude

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