In this year of the superhero movie, I sometimes look at my kids and feel a little bit like Jonathan Kent, in that I can see how they have talents and abilities in certain areas that far surpass my own and didn’t come from me. And like Jonathan, I couldn’t be more proud.
In the case of my 26-year old daughter, I am so impressed by her emotional intelligence and strength and the way she handles her relationships with men. She insists on being treated well (i.e., like a human being), and is willing to cut a relationship loose if that standard isn’t being met. She’ll cry after a break up and fly to the fortress of solitude of a night out with her girlfriends, but she gets over it quickly enough and moves on. I really admire her lack of fear and willingness to be alone rather than to settle for a man who is not what she wants. (In the newspaper advice columns, women are always writing in who are being treated terribly by their boyfriends, but they’re unwilling to cut them loose. I read these letters and think to myself, in the words of Dan Savage, DTMFA [loosely translated, “Dump the person who is not treating you well already!”].
In the case of my 21-year old son, I admire his capacity to be a tremendous friend, to both boys and girls. He came by this from “hanging out” with a large, mixed-sex group of friends when he was in high school (only one of whom was LDS). From long experience with this, he is perfectly at ease talking to and being good friends with beautiful girls, in a way that I couldn’t even have begun to fathom when I was his age.
Since these are skill sets neither of their parents has, they are quite beyond my ken and seem almost superhuman to me. And it’s wonderful to behold. I think all parents are pleased to see their children begin to surpass them in their own lives. I know my own father perceived me as surpassing him in some ways and expressed this same sentiment to me.
What are your perceptions of your own children? Do you see areas where they have, or you suspect they will, surpass you?