Baby is in Year 3 now, she came home recently, suddenly announcing she’d just ran for school council. Whaaaa? First time I heard it even existed so, after mild probing, I learned that each candidate was meant to come up with short, succinct plans/ideas for making the school, and preferably the world at large, a more attractive place. Because Sofia shares with me the bare minimum about her school life (annoying) I found out about this after she’d had what could only have been a wobbly, incoherent go at it. Apparently, she wasn’t initially interested and became interested on the spot and I wonder if she will carry this impulsiveness through into adulthood, good God I hope not.
Sofia didn’t win, which was both not a surprise and a relief. The moment she casually notified me she’d run for school council, without proper preparation, I hoped she would not get chosen. Which was as much as I served to her, straight-up. When it comes to failing as a result of half-assing – I am all arms-up for it, no mercy on sensitive souls. Like any obsessive parent would, I spent the next couple of days abhorring her for assuming life would favour anyone for existing rather than for working on earning those favours. Plus, she should be embarrassed about talking out of her ass. Have I mentioned Sofia is barely seven?
Like with everything that comes to child raising, I will not know until much later (ever?) whether what I ever say or do will one day be of benefit, as opposed to f-ck her up. This, however, I have to believe will prove to stand true at any age: everything she achieves will be down to work, go-hard-or-go-home style.
Am I subconsciously applying my own unaccomplished-loser insecurities onto the layer of actual truth? Probs. Am I implying that not only the strongest do survive but only the strongest SHOULD survive? Is this harsh? I don’t think so either.
A couple of years ago, I read The Confidence Code: The Science And Art Of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman – a book about how female perception of confidence works, parental contribution into it and how prominent women on the world stage manage to do what they do. Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde confess to over-preparing for every task they do. Is that because they are women and feel the need to confine to the stereotype that they HAVE TO over-prepare? Whether the answer is “yes” is irrelevant, for if it is the way it is, and if over-preparing is what women feel they need to succeed in their impressive arenas, then over-preparing is what I will teach my daughter. The book is a solid read, by the way, it will get you thinking.
In a less scientific, more pop-cultural, resource, the same stereotype is thrown into an interview with Marti Noxon (one of the producers of Buffy, Mad Men, UnREAL) in Vulture: “I was worried about not having had time to prepare. And this woman I know said, ‘In my opinion, men come in with 60 percent and brag on it, and women come in with 90 percent and they apologize for the 10 percent they don’t have.” Like, I accept that I am not qualified to vouch for its truthfulness and probability for the lack of experience of sharing work space with men, but why does it sound so believable? Why is the scenario of a complete Borat-in-charge showing up to a meeting and doing no more than swinging his overestimated dick about and repeating after everyone else so easy to imagine?
Whether the magic of over-preparing is true or not – I will make Sofia work the sh-t out of every assignment. And if I ever had a baby boy (the dream in which he already possesses a name - Elio), he would be taught the same. I don’t see myself ever believing that the secret to achievement lies anywhere else.
Sofia for president!