When I was growing up, and adults would brag about their children, it seemed to be more based on their looks:
“Your daughter is beautiful!”
“What a handsome young man you are!”
“My youngest child is growing so fast, he is the tallest one in his class!”
Being “pretty” or “handsome” seemed to be deemed, above all, the first most important thing to mention when bragging about a child. Being born and raised in Los Angeles, CA maybe looks was more of a concern then other parts of the world, but, that was my experience. I’ll never forget the first week of my freshman year in high school. People would talk about who was the “prettiest girl in class” or “the hottest guy at our brother school. It was so ridiculous that people expected the prettiest and cutest guy to go out together, AND THEY DID!
Then over the years, there appeared to be a shift. All of a sudden everyone’s kid was super smart, dare I say genius:
“My grand daughter is very advanced for her age.”
“My son is ahead of his peers.”
“My kid can speak three languages already!”
It seemed to be that it wasn’t about looks so much anymore, but intelligence took center stage. It used to bother me cause not every kid is smart, and so parents can come across ridiculous, and borderline desperate to voice that their child is intelligent. Not every child is a winner, ok.
Now, there appears to be yet another shift occurring, and I am grateful for the change. In a recent interview with former FBI Director James Comey, when discussing President Trumps capability of being President, he didn’t comment on his intelligence, but instead stated that he was,”not morally fit” to be President. And there’s the shift, or new trend.
Parents don’t talk about the physical features of their children that much anymore, and may still weigh in on intelligence, but, what about morals, values, ethics, and flat out kindness. Is having a moral fiber going to be the new bragging rights for parents? I hope so.
“My kids are good people.”
“I’ve managed to raise a son that cares for others above himself.”
“My daughter knows how to do the right thing.”
You can’t really change your looks, and you can’t really change your basic level of intelligence, but, you can evolve the moral fiber of your being, and be a good person. Parents can play an instrumental role in cultivating this process. That is something we can all work toward. That is something we can all encourage. Holding a high standard for being a decent human being can be the new smart. With proper parenting you can raise a kid that knows the difference between right and wrong, and goes out into the world to make it a better place, and we can celebrate that.
Measuring your child based on looks, intelligence, and then kindness shows we are making way, but, why can’t kindness come first? Do we really live in a culture that puts human decency on the backburner?
Well, if you catch yourself saying things about your kid about their superior intelligence, or gorgeous hair, stop. Ask yourself, is my child kind? Is my child a bully? Does my child share? “Does my child know how to do the right thing?”
You can have a beautiful intelligent child, but, without basic human kindness as a baseline, who really cares.