Malcolm Gladwell

Marrakesh: and a tale of (inadequate?) parenting

My best friend's children are supremely talented violin players.  

They dutifully practice for hours and hours each and every day.  Schedules are organized around violin lessons and violin camp.  At national violin competitions, they routinely place first or second.  

Their violins -- purchased on trips to London -- are worth tens of thousands of dollars, more than their parents' cars.  


These are not one note children.  They do well at school.  They ride horses. They have time to play, to draw, to watch TV.  They are polite, funny and curious.  They are enthusiastic huggers.

I am not jealous of my best friend and her two children.  In fact I love them with a love so fierce and a pride so vast that it's nearly unreasonable.  But I do wonder about myself, about my own parenting. I wonder, well, if it's been adequate.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of the Outliers, says that it's not so much the gift that counts, but the persistence.  That children must be given opportunities to find areas that they like and encouraged to really excel in them.  That 10,000 hours of practice is the key to success.  10,000 hours, supported and orchestrated most often by, well, parents.

I can't help but wonder if I've measured up as a parent.  Perhaps I've been too caught up in other things -- too captive to my work and too captive to my interests.  Perhaps I've been too selfish.  

Maybe he could have been a champion tennis player

Maybe she could have written her first novel.

Maybe they could have spoken 3 languages fluently.  


                    maybe if it hadn't been for me.