Good Enough

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I didn't specialize in anything when I was a kid.  I liked reading and writing, but those couldn't be translated into an extracurricular activity.  I was thirty before I realized that writing was the one thing I was passionate about, and I’d already gone to college and law school and had two different careers by then.  But I don’t think I ever would have come to that realization if I had put all of my energy into one activity when I was younger.  

If I had played say, lacrosse, or softball, or become a concert pianist, I might never have spent so much of my time reading, and if I hadn't read so much, I can most certainly say that I wouldn't ever have been inspired to write, or even have known how to structure a novel.  My husband, on the other hand, knew in seventh grade that baseball was his path, and he played on all-star teams and traveling teams and even played in college.  He’s not complaining – he loves baseball and still plays in a hardball league – but who knows what else he might really enjoy as an adult if he’d had the time to explore other things when he was younger?

The problem, I think, is that so many of us – myself included – tend to focus so much on outcomes.

We want our kids to get into great colleges, and we keep hearing about this kid who got into Stanford because he plays the trombone, or that kid who got into Harvard because she runs cross country.  It’s hard not to be blinded by those kinds of stories, because you never hear about the kid who ice-skated just for fun, or who was in just-okay performances, getting into Yale.  When a kid loves something, and is good at it, it’s easy to just keep letting them go to higher and higher levels.  And if it will help them get into college, then why would you stop them?