Seeking Success

DD has been going through the rigmarole of senior school entrance tests. Each one tougher, more challenging. The beauty of living in London is all its opportunities. Including going up against the brightest and sharpest 10 and 11-year-olds the city has to offer. DD has two parents who never chose the path of least resistance, so why would she? She seems to be taking all this in her stride, but I honestly wonder, when does this end? To what end, all these tests? What life is she carving out for herself?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my child to succeed. Succeed at being content. Healthy. With stable, supportive relationships. Enough money in the bank not to worry about paying the bills. Don’t we all want this for our children?

These lines by William Martin struck a particular chord with me:

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Seeking Success

  1. Beautiful comments from DD’s parents who have always been so supportive of her choices in life, so far! And, words by William Martin are put down in such simple, yet explicit, terms. Yes, we all want our children and grand children to succeed. But, we also want them to “stop and smell the roses”. Life seems to fly by oh so fast! Where have all the years gone? How did DD reach this age, where she is now doing Entrance Tests for senior school??? Wow!


  2. I’m of the opinion that happiness and satisfaction are success. Genuine happiness. Too often in my classes I’m asked “how will this help me get a job/make money?” as if money and wealth are equivalent to contentment. There is joy in the beauty of art and the logic of philosophy and the wonder of music – even if those careers “don’t pay well” by many standards.

    What is success? Being able to do what you want to do, rather than what you have to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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