20 May 2011


The lovely Sardine Tin is running a mystery blog swap today. You can find out what it's about and check out the list of participants on her blog. Each of us has been paired up with another blogger and we've written guest posts for each other.

I've been paired with... well, that would be telling.

Once all posts have been linked, why not try to guess who has been paired with whom. Who is hosting my post today? Who do you think has written the following wonderful post on potential? I wish I had!


(Mystery) guest posting on Baby Baby? Oh my. What to write?

I find myself browsing through Sandy's archives. Archives full of touching posts. Full of emotion.

So what to write?

I thought I'd write about potential.

After all, as parents, isn't potential what we're banking on?

A friend showed me an article in the Sunday Times this weekend about Tiger Mums (I would link, but it's behind the paywall). 

About how (and I'm paraphrasing) evidence shows that, all things being equal and assuming that a generally acceptable parenting standard is applied, the advantages that you try to give to your child make little difference. If any, it's temporary. 

The best way for you to influence your child's future? With your genes.

This obviously doesn't mean you should let them run feral. But all that all hothousing? The extra classes, the tutoring? It won't affect their long term success, any more than giving them a general ethos that education is important.

But what is my child's potential? How far should I, can I, try to influence it?

I take after my dad on this front. We're both smart. Good at school. Great potential. The opportunity to do great things.

And yet we both struggle to apply that potential. To do anything but to coast. 

That coasting? Partly because the things that material success bring are not all that important to us. The coasting gets us enough to be where we want to be, do what we want to do.

Partly because our families mean so much to us that we don't want to take too much time away from that.

And partly because that drive just doesn't seem to be there.

I have great ideas. I'm good at what I do. I could do much more. But why? 

I feel something missing. But I'm not sure what.

And if I struggle with this, with the gift of my genes, will my child too?

Will I have passed on potential, but without drive to do something with it?

Can I inspire action? Can I turn my coasting around, and show that great things can be done?

Can I achieve my potential to show the next generation of my family how best to achieve theirs?

I don't know. But I can try.



  1. I left a lovely profound (!) comment and it got eaten.

    I have no idea who this is. They have one child I think so that rules a lot of people out I thought it might have been. They are like their Dad.

    Potential is an interesting concept to me. It is almost like dealing with something intangible because you can't really measure it - only in hindsight. Did you live up to potential? But who saw it in you? Was it misplaced? Was it the right area to have potential in? What if someone said you had the potential to be a really brilliant lawyer because you had the brains but you really wanted to be an artist? I don't know. I would hate to look back on my life and think I hadn't fulfilled my potential but at what cost to the other things I hold dear? Like family?

  2. What a great idea for a meme. I have no clue who this is but it was a fascinating post all the same. I feel very much the same regarding my potential and our family ability to coast, although this has changed by generation and circumstance. Loads to think about!

  3. Deer Baby, thank you for leaving a lovely profound comment twice. It was Bumbling. x

    Babes, it really is food for thought. I'm a coaster too. x


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