Room to Grow and Double Standards

by Belinda Munoz on March 28, 2011

When we discuss planting seeds in a spring garden, or puppies or four-year olds, we speak in hopeful tones and with an understanding that they come with an inherent room to grow. We know tomatoes don’t grow overnight, puppies don’t train themselves and four-year olds can’t be expected to have good manners like their parents do (uh-huh). Each needs time and tending to become more like they are expected to be and get away with being unable yet to bear fruit, fetch a ball or forgetting to cover their mouths when they sneeze.

But at some point, being fresh, new and young gets old literally and figuratively. The belief that we can’t teach an old dog new tricks begins to set in and that once vast room to grow, overtime, becomes perceptibly smaller then disappears. A mature dog that never learned any tricks doesn’t get snapped up as easily as a week-old pup.

So goes for the tenured teacher, the multi-term politician who won public office through an election (caveat: depends on the party) or the head of an NGO or a company who climbed the proverbial ladder. It makes sense to expect them to be good at what they do. They’ve had some time to grow and room to blossom and have arguably reached a point when they are able to deliver results.

And yet somehow, with parenting, most parents understand that this process is a trial and error one with a lot of heart and hard work. Flawlessness is not expected from our actions and decisions and sympathy is readily shared. I wonder why we’re forgiving of fellow parents and much harder on those who teach students, serve the citizens and lead the workers? Is it because the room to grow is infinitely larger in the parenting arena?

Or is it perhaps worth considering that we must allow others and ourselves equal room to grow as long as we’re trying to do something good?

How do we decide who gains our support and who incurs criticism (or worse, accusation or blame)?

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Colleen March 28, 2011 at 4:08 am

Good point Belinda.


2 ayala March 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

I think we need to give room to grow to anyone that’s trying to do good in any situation. I think we need to think of ourselves in their shoes….then things may seem different.


3 TheKitchenWitch March 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

We are so unfair to teachers in this country that it makes my blood boil. As a former teacher myself, this post really touched me.


4 Meg March 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

Good point about the relative difference in room to grow. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual or a degree or any training whatsoever–just hopefully common sense and trial and error. The only real way to learn is on the job. This does not mean that other public servants cannot learn on the job, but there is no doubt they are considered to have more of a notion about what to do than the average new parent. This can get really messed up!


5 Talon March 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I expect there is a learning curve – a growth period – with every position we assume in our adult life. But my patience is more limited with adults than with puppies and children. And some plants, no matter how well tended, loved, nurtured, just don’t grow right…

As always, Belinda, you give me much to ponder.


6 Mama Zen March 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

Is it because parenting is regarded as so personal? Or the standards so much more subjective? I don’t know.


Leave a Comment

Previous post: Meaningful Measures

Next post: Fighting for Her Equal Half