So Much for Average
Topic: Making Decisions
The day I brought home my first C, my father looked like he'd been hit in the face with a wet dishrag soaked in buttermilk! I'd been telling him that I was struggling in math that year. Only when he saw the C did it register, I suppose.
I was rather happy to have the C, considering with how hard I'd been struggling. And I told him so.
Dad didn't punish me--at least not visibly. Yet the look on his face was plenty of punishment. I'd never seen him so devastated about anything I'd ever done.
Perhaps he was revisiting his own youth. After all, he'd been a high school dropout, having quit school to join the service. Then, following World War II, he redeemed himself by getting into college on probation and managing to make the honor roll at times before graduating and going on to seminary. I'm sure he was thinking that he didn't want his daughter to struggle as he'd done. Like many parents, he and my mother had an inflated opinion about their firstborn daughter in those formative years. I'd just burst my father's bubble, no doubt, and brought him down to reality.
It wasn't my last C, but Dad learned to accept others when they occasionally made a dent in my otherwise above-average grades.
In addition to his look, I remember his words more than any words I ever heard him speak! That's just how big an impact that experience made on me. So large that I'm certain I've internalized the feelings of that moment; and they continue to work in me, sometimes for good and sometimes not so good.
"Average!! Don't ever be content with being average," he said. "Average doesn't usually get much done that's important."
While I am definitely content to be average in many things, and even below average in some, if it's something that I think really matters, I do my best to remember my father's challenge. The world is full of people who don't try to be above average in much of anything, and that keeps the world revolving. It all depends on whether we want to revolve or evolve, as I see it. I prefer the latter.
Posted by Dee Ann Miller
at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 08/20/2008 7:45 PM CDT