i have a cynical, sarcastic edge to me.
i can easily think of something inappropriate and snarky to say.
and i can find the negative in just about anything.
maybe it’s my generation. “x,” they called us.
we grew up on john hughes films, not high school musical.
we struggled to figure out where we fit in the world run by the generation before us.
we channeled our angst in our own antonyms, and were dubbed “slackers.”
with all that in mind, “winner” isn’t exactly how i categorize myself.
i was never a winner, always a runner-up. so things like achievement and success seem to always be overshadowed by someone else’s accomplishments.
so recently, it came as a surprise that a child i helped bring into the world did something so rebellious that it still leaves me in dismay.
my youngest son was writing a paper for his comp class, describing himself and his interests. he said he liked to pursue excellence, and that discipline was an important part of his goals.
now, this son has already pushed against the norm with his incessant, even jovial, love of sports, but this was a whole new level of revolution.
he dared to write about hope . . . about goals . . . about . . . winning.
i was disturbed. what will this teacher think of us?
will she think we’re Pollyanas?
will she think we sit around and devise some kind of family strategy to conquer the world?
will she think our hallways are lined with trophies and motivational statements?
will she think we’re über competitive?
because that’s not how i would have written a composition about myself. i wouldn’t have said that if i do my best, i can achieve anything.
in my world, it works like this:
do your best, and you still may not win.
excellence is great, but some people will think you never measure up.
set your goals, but it may take years to make them happen—and when they do, they may not look like you thought they would.
ah, my gen x perspective is alive and fresh, but so contradictory to the optimism of my son’s.
he’ll learn, i mumble to myself. he’ll become jaded.
or maybe, just maybe, he’ll have a different experience.
maybe the world will look different through his eyes.
i want him to hold on to that hope.
i want him to prove me wrong.
and a part of me even dares to hope i’ll learn a thing or two from him along the way.
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image courtesy of flickr.com/creative commons/by DieselDemon