Relating to Jonathan Kent

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?


  1. This fits in with my theory of perfection through generations. I won’t every be perfect, but if I can raise my children to be just a little better than me, and their children are just a little better than them, then eventually we’ll reach perfection. For my children, I hope that they can have better gospel habits (scripture reading, FHE, praying, etc), and better health habits (exercise and eating properly). I think I do a better job at those than my parents did, but I have to work at it. I hope that it will be something that’s more natural for my children.

  2. sister blah 2 says:

    This is really sweet, Kevin. I very much look forward to watching this unfold with my own children. Being toddler age, so far the only exceeding I’ve noticed is in energy. =)

  3. Artemis has far greater lung capacity than I do.

  4. Aaron Brown says:

    So far, Annika (almost 2 y.o.) appears not to have inherited my arachnophobia. Which is a good thing, as I will soon have someone else to pass off my spider-killing responsibilities to, rather than having to tell the wife to “kill the darn thing yourself, honey. I’m more traumatizable by the task than you are.”


  5. Kevin, I could write the longest comment in the Bloggernacle simply answering your final questions – despite my normal shyness.

    1) Our oldest son is an incredibly caring person – and couldn’t care less about what others think of him. He doesn’t try to be anyone but himself, and I really admire that.

    2) Our second son is a humble warrior. He takes his trials in stride and never thinks to complain. He is a girl magnet, because he truly respects them, listens sincerely to them and makes every one of them feel special.

    3) Our oldest daughter is the most natural friend and peacemaker I have ever known.

    4) Our second daughter has an amazingly dry, funny sense of humor – and she is a natural born writer.

    5) Our third daughter has an innate sensitivity that is rare.

    6) Our youngest daughter (6 going on 18) makes complex connections that astound us – and has a memory for vocabulary that astounds everyone else. I’m more than a little sacred of what she will be like by the time she turns 16.

    Thanks for this chance to brag in public. Our kids deserve it.

  6. Jennifer in GA says:

    My oldest daughter, at age 9 1/2, already has far greater hair styling skills than myself. She never feels like she is having a bad hair day. Her self confidence is amazing, and I hope she keeps that as she approaches her teen years.

    My youngest daughter, at age 8, already knows she has a good sense of humor, and that people perceive her as being genuinely funny and like being around her. This isn’t something I found out about myself until I was in my 20’s.

    And they will both take on any challengers in Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, and they’ll probably win. ;)

  7. Julie M. Smith says:

    I’m always amazed that, after 10 minutes at the park or pool, my 6yo is chatting up some kid as if they’ve been friends for years. (I hate people and am afraid to talk to them.)

    I’m always impressed that my 10yo will dump his dry cereal back in the box and eat something else when he realizes that there is only a little milk left “in case you wanted some cereal later, mom.” (Whereas when I find there is only a little milk left, I think, “Woohoo! I got it before anyone else did!”)

    I’m always on the verge of tears when my 3yo comes up to me and hugs me, kisses me, and says, “my precious mommy!” (Because I’m not sweet.)

  8. My 7-year old’s confidence and resilience blows my mind- nothing knocks this kid down, nothing deters his course- he is of singular mind, and for someone who struggles with simple decisions, I so admire his fierce determination.

    My 4-year old, no matter what has happened, forgives with all his heart. A hug and an apology are make everything OK in his world. I love that he bears no grudge to anyone.

    My 2-year old already knows a soft answer repells wrath. He brothers might be rioting, but she smiles a honey smile and whispers a sweet answer, and the whole family is in her hand.

    Everyday they teach me things.

  9. My 9 1/2 year old has a unique spiritual maturity. Even my sister recognized it at his birth. He has known right from wrong since he was old enough to talk and he WANTS to do what’s right. It’s almost like he has a direct link to the Heavens. (He didn’t get that from me.)

    My 7 yr old – is fiercely independent and dangerously curious. I think I’ll appreciate this in several years.

    My 6 yr old daughter is, well, six and I’m still trying to figure her out.

    My 1 yr. old is full of joy and happiness. Her glass is completely full. She wakes up smiling, singing (which she didn’t get from me, since I sound like a cat being strangled.) and laughing. I believe she will always bring joy to who ever she surrounds herself with. I see the hope of this generation in her eyes.

    So, ask me this question in another 10 years.

  10. StillConfused says:

    Both my children are intelligent beyond their years and both are extremely open to and understanding of different cultures and lifestyles. My daughter spends time in at least one foreign country a year. They both surpass me in understanding and patience.

  11. (I hate people and am afraid to talk to them.)

    Me too, Julie. I’ve always wondered what I’d do with a wildly extraverted child who wanted to chatter to every single person we met on the street or wanted to bring his or her twenty friends over to play every afternoon.

    (When I come home I like to run into my house very fast to hide from my neighbors, who might expect me to–horror of horrors!–make small talk.)

  12. Thank you Kevin for the wonderful tribute to your children and for giving the rest of us the opportunity.

    Son #1 was born with the wisdom of an ancient soul. He is also protective of the weak and young
    Son #2 can make a friend out of a rock. Everyone knows him and calls him friend. He has amazing musical ability
    Daughter #1 is gifted in eveything thing she does. Nothing is too hard for her and she is a hard worker too.
    Son#3 is a wizard at the computer. He is a big lovable teddy bear
    Daughter #2 is the most reslient kid I have ever met. Funny tho she was born in my heart (adopted) and everyone tells me how she is more like me than the rest of my kids. God certainly has a hand in these things.

  13. Wow, I really needed this post today. I struggled with my nearly 6 year old son to the point I wanted someone else to be his mother (then I felt like a terrible mom, vicious cycle)
    Thanks for the opportunity to look at my children’s strengths and imagine how they will grow and change in the years to come.

    Son 1 (almost 6) loves people and will make friends with anyone. He’s also a really good chess player, I say “You captured my queen again?”
    Son 2 (2 1/2 yo) Has the soul of an angel. He’s sweet, sometimes shy, kind and gentle. He’s naturally obedient and loving.
    Son 3 (8 mo) Is a happy fellow who loves to smile and laugh. He’s a chubby, cuddly little guy who doesn’t complain when he gets ignored or accidentally trodden on.

  14. What a sweet post.

    My oldest son (18): He’s the most like me. Too much like me. But he’s not as afraid of people (or spiders) as I am and he’s very smart in ways that I’m not (physics, math). I’m most happy with his biting sense of humor. I wasn’t funny when I was a kid, so he impresses me.

    My daughter (16): She’s *so* not like me. She’s outgoing, bubbly, like a ray of sunshine. Fearless.

    My youngest son (14): He makes an impression on people. A convert bore her testimony in church yesterday and talked about him. He speaks from the heart. Everyone who tries to describe him says he’s just real.