What’s Wrong with Your Child Being Mediocre?

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About Marie Roker-Jones

Marie Roker-Jones is Editor of the Raising Boy section of The Good Men Project and the Founder of Raising Great Men™ -Real talk about raising boys to become men of character and What Kind of Man Do You Want to Be.


  1. Maybe I would find your argument more credible if you had written about your average kids. Instead, you mention your son was in a gifted group.

    You say: “Maybe your son wasn’t meant to be popular or famous or wealthy. Maybe he was meant to be average but do great things in a small, quiet way.”

    Other kids, of course. Some other person’s son. Not your own. No, never your own. You clearly don’t think your own son is destined for mediocrity; after all, he’s in the gifted group of super smarties. So easy to say that other people shouldn’t want for fame or riches or anything to really make them stand out from the rest. Not so easy when you apply it to yourself or the people you know.

    • yup, this.

      Besides, academic intellegence is not actually that great of a marker to determine if your kid will be mediocre or excel at life.. it seems that the ability to be Social and interpret complex social situations, rebound from failure (or rather be too arrogant or self centered to understand them as impediments) gets you a LOT further in life.. after all how else do you explain Fratboys and Sorority girls.. You don’t honestly think they are hitting the books rather than partying in order to get good jobs when they graduate? Nope, they are networking, building vast webs of connectivity and then ruthlessly exploiting those to get good jobs by figuring out how to read and interact with people.. in other words they learn early on it doesn’t matter what your real accolades are so long as you know how to scratch the right backs and avoid ruffling the wrong feathers..

    • Thank you all for your comment! I get what you’re saying about including that my son was admitted into a gifted program. This wasn’t mentioned as a subtle brag but more of sharing how we didn’t tell our son about it because we didn’t want him to think that this somehow made him academically gifted above other students.

      What I wanted parents to understand is that what we share with our kids gives them a sense of entitlement.

  2. Tom Brechlin says:

    @Marie Roker-Jones … I luv you! You said what I have been saying for more years then I can count. One of the advantages of my age is that I can see things in a historical perspective. I was in school when an “A” meant an “A” and an “F” meant an “F”. There were no free rides. Do they give out “F’s” anymore?

    What’s sad is this idea of praising the kids for virtually nothing is in fact short changing them. Parents as well as educators have lowered the bar so far that it’s as though they’re saying, you’re not worth the effort for me to call you on your shortcomings, I’m more interested in your feeling good then truly accomplish something.

    I’d worked on a residential unit with adolescent males for 13 years. Through the years I have always had high expectations for each and every client that walked in the door. Amazingly, most of those guys were able to reach those expectations and more. That bar became their bar and I only helped them maintain it. They learned that no matter their background and history, they could rise above it.

    We’ve become a society that expecting kids to simply do what’s right, is now a major accomplishment. Little Josh cleaned his room today, wow, isn’t that great? NOT, the kid should be cleaning his room. I never bragged about my kids doing things like taking out the garbage, cleaning, doing the dishes …. These were simply things that were expected of them, nothing special at all.

    Grades in school? My wife and I knew what they were capable of and accordingly had expectations that their grades would be good and if they were truly GREAT, we’d give them plenty of credit. But even when they were growing up, the educational system had already given into the “let’s make them all feel goooood and reward them for being average.” Bull hockey.

    My wife’s family were migrant workers. She didn’t learn to understand or speak English until she was in first grade. Now explain to me how this young girl was able to not only master the English language but was also double promoted and was later an honors student yet we have kids today that can’t speak proper English much less read and spell and still who made to get through 12 years of school with “A’s
    and “B’s?” And when I say “master” the language, I truly mean “master” in that her written and verbal skills are without question. Back in the 60’s, an “A” was given to those who truly deserved them.

    We sure as heck aren’t doing any of these kids any favors.

  3. bluetowelboy says:

    “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

    This is nothing new. People have been complaining about children and how people raise them since the beginning of time. They are too soft on their kids and their kids will be unable to handle rejection. They are to hard on their kids and they will never be able to find love. I heard a story once that a man took his child to the psychologist and asked for advice on how to raise his child to be the best that he could be. The psychologist looked at the man and said “I’m sorry I can’t do that. But why don’t you bring him back in 18 years and I’ll tell you where you screwed up.”

    We all want what is best for our children so love them please. Praise them when they do right and punish them when they do wrong. Don’t abuse them. There is no magic bullet and I think you will find that kids are way more resilient than you would believe.

    Oh by the way I loved the awesome humble brag hidden inside the article.

    “When my son was tested for kindergarten and admitted to a K-5 gifted program, my husband and I decided that we wouldn’t let our son know that he was in the program.”

    Thanks for letting us know about your gifted child even while chastising those parents you meet that tell you about theirs.

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