This thought is related to my earlier Zumba lament. In fact I’ve had two thoughts today which I’ll combine into one. The first is that there is no point me worrying too much about my lack of skill with Zumba moves because you can’t be good at everything. I can draw (and paint on brick walls) . But I can’t dance. So what?
I had a conversation with my middle son a few weeks’ ago about this subject. This was during a period when he was doing very well at school. He’d designed a street sign that had been selected for joint first prize. He’d had praise for his poetry and imaginative writing. Things were going well for him at school.
He was very happy with his little lot until he came out of school one day with his bottom lip wobbling. Concerned, I asked him what the matter was. He asked me: ‘Why do I always come one before last in all the practice races for Sports Day?’ I replied: ‘Nobody is good at everything. Perhaps running is not your thing?’
My second thought is related to the first thought: there are no prizes for excellence in common sense. It is interesting to me the talents that get noticed, such as art, sport, poetry, acting, singing, dancing or maths and the talents that don’t such as common sense. I don’t have common sense. I wish I did. I could do with some. I have many friends who have this in spades but they rarely get complemented on it (although I complement them because I notice it!). There are no awards given out for excellence in common sense. There isn’t an Nobel Prize in common sense. Yet common sense is a talent as valid as poetry or artistic ability. Something needs to be done about this. A child can be classed as ‘gifted and talented’ for all sorts of things (academic and non-academic) but not common sense.
My son may be able to write poetry but he wouldn’t be able tot run very far if chased by a bear. I may be able to paint but I can’t think on my feet in a crisis. I am sure that in cavemen times poetry and art would not have guaranteed survival, whereas running and using common sense might have helped. Luckily for my son we don’t very often encounter rampant bears on the loose. Fortunately we live in the 21st century. So I guess he’s not likely to be heading for the Olympics any time soon and I’m not about to be entering any dance contests either. We’ll just need to be content with our art and poetry pursuits.