Outdoing the old man

I remember filling a shelf with parenting books before Zoe was born. I also remember filling a box with those same books after Zoe was born. Parenting is on the job training. Kids don’t come with owners manuals. You learn as you go. That’s why it’s a joy when you have those small triumphs, those times when you get it right. 

Such is the case this week. 

If those of you in the sound of my digital voice are parents, like me, you probably share the goal that your children have a better life and do greater things than you have done. My daughter has taken a huge step toward that objective this week. 

Zoe is among the kids at her school selected for inclusion in our school system’s Talented and Gifted program in the fall. 

No, it’s not a free ride to Harvard but it is a significant accomplishment – and apropos to my thesis this week, this achievement far outshines anything I ever accomplished in third grade. Third grade, when the most important thing for me was getting home from school in time to catch Superman and Magilla Gorilla reruns. 

Please accept this post as the ramblings of a proud parent, not the boastful one. It’s just that I’m very happy to see my talented and gifted kid do me one better. 

Mrs. McCullough and I are far from being a modern day Cliff and Claire (Although I still have the sweaters!) , but it’s comforting to see we’re doing something right! 

Who knows, maybe when she gets to college – unlike Pops – she’ll actually do well!!



  1. Alan

    Congratulations to Zoe, you and the mrs, John.
    We don’t read manuals! that’s for wimps. Maybe I should have read some parenting manuals!

    Magilla Gorilla: your post surprised me because we just published a story about the world’s rarest gorillas: http://newsblaze.com/story/20120508152247zzzz.nb/topstory.html

    You’d better teach Zoe how to study – most kids don’t learn that – and it might be best if you don’t teach her that. LOL


  2. Kay Lorraine

    John, you are clearly proud of your daughter and I am happy for you. May I please give you a small piece of advice that I wish someone had given to my parents when I was young? Please do not expect more from her than you would any other child just because she is “gifted.”

    I am much older than you. I’m 65. But I was a “gifted” child. I was put in accelerated programs for talented and gifted kids. I was pushed and pushed. Eventually, I felt like a geek. I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was labeled “different.” I hated my life. Whenever I got a “B” grade, I was marched to the principal’s office while they lectured me about “wasting God’s gift.” My answer was, “If God was so interested in this gift, he should have given it to someone who wanted it.”

    Eventually, I became a disappointment to my parents. I did not grow up to be a rocket scientist or cure Cancer. I became a professional singer, which was the only thing that gave me pleasure. I knew that whatever I did, it wouldn’t be good enough because I was “special.” What was acceptable for everyone else was unacceptable for me because so much more was expected of me.

    Maybe if people had left me alone, I might have gotten interested in academia and become someone important. Instead, I ran as fast as I could, as far away from academics as my little legs could carry me.

    I’m sure that your daughter feels your pride in her accomplishments and wants to continue to make you proud. Just be sure that she understands that you are proud of her because she is exactly who she is, not because of what she can accomplish. Otherwise, you’ll really screw up her life. Trust me on this. Been there. Done that. Got the T-Shirt.

    Warmest aloha,
    Kay in Hawaii


  3. Paedra

    Great story! I remember clearly when my, then, 11 year old outdid me in a baking contest. I naively suggested a bake off between him and I. The sweet results were fed to a panel of experienced waitresses and chefs ( my mum’s restaurant staff) before letting them vote on the treats. Unanimously, his cake was voted the better one… that taught me right 🙂


  4. Justin

    With all that success, some day your child will be able to buy you a new house and car. 🙂 Haha, in all seriousness, that’s so awesome. Congrats to her for getting into that program! Also, I didn’t know that cartoon was called Magilla Gorilla. You just solved a life-long mystery for me! XD


  5. adorse1

    Congrats to you and your daughter! Every parent wants their child to do better than them. Ideally we can pass down whatever wisdom we’ve learned from “doing it wrong.”


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