A Well Rounded Person

I’m not a well rounded person and you shouldn’t be either.

When I was young there seemed to be much thinking floating around of this nature.

“Careful! Don’t be too good at this, but don’t be too bad at that either.”

There was this idea that a perfect person was a well balance, well adjusted jack of all trades who was this amazing blend of driven but not too driven, sensitive but not overly so, funny but serious, short but tall etc etc. In short (ahem), someone who wasn’t too much of anything, but also not too little.

Now we’re realizing our mistakes and that’s a good thing.

I have only to look at my four girls who grew up in the same home with the same parents, watched the same TV shows, have the same rules (except the youngest Neela of course, to quote Rag’n’Bone we’re “only human after all”), and yet they all have very different strengths and weaknesses. It’s our job as parents to help mold them into what they were born to be.

But have you ever considered that to be strong at something you have to be weak at it’s opposite? A surgeon has a decisiveness that must disregard pity to save a life in the ER. It could almost be said that the greatest pity they can show in a particular situation is to completely empty their minds of the human suffering their operation most certainly will cause, but in the end a life is saved.

Some people fix broken bones, and some help people walk again. We need both.

I feel like my examples are terrible, but perhaps enough to get the point across?

My Katie has a terrific brain and Ailish a lovely heart. Both need to use their brains and both their hearts, but one was born toTHINK and the other born toFEEL. Katie is going to invent something one day whose name I can’t pronounce and I’ll be very proud of her. Ailish is going to bring tender love to so many ragged, used people, and I’ll be very proud of her.

When Katie speaks I listen because it makes sense.

When Ailish speaks I listen because in all honesty I need someone whose heart can heal mine from time to time. My calling in this life is to influence those who disagree with me, and it comes with a cost to my soul. Ailish doesn’t need a reason to love me, doesn’t care if I’m right or wrong, never assumes the worst of me and needs me to protect her.

Katie protects me from making mistakes when I’m preoccupied with something weighty when I should be doing things like, well, driving?

The world needs both, but not both of them dampened down.

My job as a father is to speak into their strengths, to see what they can’t see, to call them to greatness. Of course as they mature they need to be able to function in their weaknesses and see the world through each other’s eyes, but it’s a huge mistake to spend forever trying to perfect a flaw whose opposite is their gift to the world.

And no, I don’t subscribe to the thinking out there that says you can be independent and self sufficient! No one truly needs anyone else? This often is the conclusion drawn from hurt and betrayal, but goes against our design in the end which is always harmful.

I think most of us are really good at two or three things, and I believe strongly that we have the responsibility to knock those things out of the park. What bothered me for years is that I thought winning was the ability to be good at everything.

If I attempt that, I’ll never be great at anything.

My conclusion will sound like something you hear often, but with a crucial shift in emphasis:

Be great at something, surround yourself with people who are great at your opposites.

Duh, right?

Here’s the kicker:

I actually have to depend upon, trust, risk everything to find and treat others as the gift they are to me. I actually have to trust them more than I trust ME when the ball is in their court of influence.

And that, friends, is easier said than done.

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