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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chow Fung...

...meekly walked onstage, her hands folded and eyes staring straight ahead. The announcer from the stage then began to read the laundry list of accolades earned that year, just a handful of her 7th grade accomplishments. Excellence in mathematics; Excellence in Language Arts; Excellence in Music, Duke TIP Grand Finalist; etc. etc. etc. The young Asian girl stood silent all the while, a bit embarrassed in front of the large audience, their wide-eyed faces looking on in astonishment at the length of time it took to read all of her awards earned.

My daughter, Meredith had gone sometime before young Ms. Fung, earning Excellence in Language Arts and Drama (this I know well). But I couldn't help but wonder what it must have been like to be the child collecting their awards, just AFTER Chow Fung. The poor child that did, a young lady earning a perfect attendance award, must have felt a bit... cheated. After all, this was her moment- a culmination of her investment meeting a bit of hard-earned recognition! Was is too much to ask for a little limelight? However, in the wake of Chow Fung her award fell on deaf ears, silenced by the tall shadow of an obvious genius. This poor girl, a victim only of the order of presentation had been, if you will, "Chow Funged". Her tiny candle extinguished by the backdraft of comparison.

I can't tell you how many times in life that has happened to me. I explained to my girls afterward that whatever the situation, as long as you have done your best- your very best- then you can be proud of your accomplishments. Comparisons in life are inevitable, however you should always celebrate your own accomplishments no matter how they look next to someone elses. The reality is, even Ms. Fung may not have accomplished all that she wanted in 7th grade. If that is the case, then too bad. Perhaps even the presentation of all those awards felt a bit empty to her. It's really a matter of what your goals are and what you personally achieve. The real secret, I suppose, is to make sure your goals are lofty enough to make you stretch for them. If you do, then that is enough.

Later that night, in celebration I took the family out for Mexican food, still in awe of my little red-head, Meredith. She delights me and makes me proud.
Have you ever felt cheated by a comparison? Who was your Chow Fung?


George said...

I recall our dads having a similar conversation at a band awards banquet, where other kids were receiving such an abundance of accolades. Your dad asked mine "what do our boys get, the Okey Dokey award". I think those comparisons may be arder for the parents than they are for the kids.

Kyle said...

I was asked in high school to do a bunch of illustrations for our literary magazine. I took it seriously too. I worked on those drawing for weeks. A bunch of 'em were used. When the magazine came out, I was the only person who contributed whose name was left out. I got a "sorry" from the Lit teacher who put the book together and my mom was absolutely furious.
But it was too late. It was already in the hands of the public.