Ever since I became a parent, which is about three years ago (insert a round of applause here).
Okay then, well (insert Mr. Incredible’s “Jealousy” soundtrack then) Hehehehe..
Anyway, I’ve discovered that most parents have the habit of measuring the progress of their offspring against other kids. Maybe it’s just human nature?
Often when parents gather in places like church, school drop-off and pick-up, birthday parties and the likes, you’ll overhear them saying things like, “At what age did your kid start walking?”, “What age did she start talking?“, “Can she write her ABC?” and so on. Lord have mercy if their kids started walking before yours, you can see an almost imperceptible smile flash across their face, like they’re thinking, “Yes! I knew my child was special and faster!” but instead they’ll say, “Every child at its own time”. Infact while hearing those words I also imagine their inner god/goddess doing somersaults, dancing wildly and shrieking around like a possesed witch-doctor. Maybe it’s just me.
So my daughter turned one year old recently, and she’s hardly walking yet (see mugshot below). She stands alright, takes 3 steps forward and is back on her hands and knees. But her elder brother started walking at 10 months. By that standard should I assume that her brother is smarter than she is and will progress faster in life than she would? Should we give up on even teaching her how to walk? Should I pay just the brother’s school fees then and abandon her education on account of this? Should I feed her brother with Kelloggs cornflakes and SMA Gold milk and give her just garri and Cowbell?
Of course that’s a whole bunch of crap questions if you ask me. She’s a late bloomer but does that even matter? History is replete with late bloomers who started off late but it didn’t stop their appointment with success and ultimately destiny. From basketballers to movie stars. From globally-acclaimed scientists to world-famous entrepreneurs.
It’s no BIG secret that Pablo Picasso, Tom Cruise and Whoopi Goldberg are dyslexic or otherwise known as ‘slow’ children. So also is Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Group, with over 360 companies! Let’s not forget the great Albert Einstein who had to overcome speech difficulties as a child or Thomas Edison whose school teacher called him “addled” otherwise known as “backward” in today’s mordern English.
Oh! That’s not all. Some celebrities you know today started out as late bloomers also. Let’s take Samuel L. Jackson, whose career didn’t kick start until he was 45 years old! Of course he has played minor roles like the armed robber in the blockbuster movie, Coming to America, whose ass was kicked by Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. The role lasted all of 4 minutes only. Also the legendary Harrison Ford’s movie career started at 35, before then he was just a carpenter. Jon Hamm of the mini series “Mad Men” major screen breakthrough came at 42. He had almost given up acting at 36.
When you look through all of these different experiences, you’ll discover that each of them refused to give up. Achieving great success is always like that, a stubborn refusal to give up, silent resolve to continue on a path despite all the short-comings, negative snide comments, fast walking brothers and neighbours and disappointments.
Now your career may be late in blooming, you may not be where your peers are now financially, maritally, socially, mentally, politically, spiritually, physically (insert your own ‘ally’ here) but it doesn’t matter! The past is a poor predictor of the future. So just stay focused on your vision and refuse to give up on yourself. For just as any decent parent will refuse to give up on their daughter’s quest to walk, so also should you refuse to give up on your personal quest to succeed.
In the end, your story becomes even sweeter to the ears, considering all the hardship that you had to go through. You no longer have to find success, you become a success. Keep walking.