“Are you disappointed in me, Mom?”
“Disappointed in you? Heavens no! Why would I be disappointed in you? Where is this coming from, honey?”
I sniffled loudly in my phone as the tears continued to course down my cheeks, hot with embarrassment. I hurriedly let the rest of my thoughts tumble out, “Do you think that I’m an underachiever, because I never graduated from college or accomplished anything great with my life? Do you think that I had a lot of potential as a gifted kid, and I didn’t live up to your expectations?”
“Jennifer, I have always been proud of you and what you’ve accomplished in your life. You are a loving mother to four precious boys. You are kind, and funny, and smart, and beautiful. I love you, sweetheart.”
After more reassuring words from my mom, I dried my tears, and hung up the phone. I thought about how I am teaching my sons what is most valuable in life, and what underachievement means to me.
I am afraid I will never graduate from college, and view it as a form of failure. I feel like I didn’t meet my potential as a gifted girl who graduated in the top 4% of her high school class. I know that I am capable of earning a college degree, and have decided to go back to school at several points in my life. Inevitably, my circumstances and my desires have shifted.
When comparing my attainments to those of my gifted peers, I feel like a slacker, but I shouldn’t. My dreams for the future weren’t to be a cardiovascular surgeon, Harvard Law graduate, or physician. Those dreams belonged to my friends, and I’m proud that they’ve met them.
At nearly 40, I’m realizing I may never have a college degree, but my goals and vision for my future don’t require me to earn a one.
My gifted sons who are 8, 8, 8 and 5 may never be noted in history books for their multi-million dollar inventions or ground breaking research. While it would be fantastic, and incredible for my boys to achieve worldly greatness, there are other feats which I value more.
I want my sons to adore their wives and children. I want them to grow to be men of faith, patience and generosity. I want to see their kind acts and compassion toward mankind in hours spent in service. I want them to be examples, and brave leaders in the face of adversity and life’s challenges.
Most importantly, I want them to know, like I do, that they are loved and cherished by their mom for who they are, not what they achieve.
Genealogy Jen’s Weekly Challenge – Call your mom, and tell her that you love her, and appreciate her personal sacrifices on your behalf. If she’s passed on, send her a little prayer. She’s probably listening, because she loves you.
This post is part of Hoagie’s Gifted Education monthly blog hop series on Underachievement in Gifted Kids.
You can read additional posts on this theme by clicking the graphic below.