Saturday, August 23, 2008

On fish and ponds of varying proportions

An interesting question to ponder. Do your kids prefer to be big fish in small ponds, small fish in big ponds, or some other combination? How about you?

Erin is currently a very big fish in a very small pond. She enjoys this, but also finds herself very limited by it. There's the possibility of being a sort of medium fish in a big pond -- the challenge option, which would likely require living away from home. I'm speaking here of course of music, which is her all-consuming passion at this point. Not sure which she'll choose, and unfortunately I think she's really too young for such a decision, but it'll likely have to be made within a year or so.

Noah will definitely prefer to be a small fish in a big pond, though he's at least three or four years from having to find a bigger musical pond. As a violist he likes being in the midst of great things, but not the out-front player. It's the same in other areas; he'd rather be in an aikido class or soccer program where the others are working hard and taking it all seriously, but he likes to be in the top 25%, not the top 1%.

Sophie I'm not really sure. I think she's more a medium fish small pond kind of person. She's a dabbler who likes to try different things and do reasonably well but isn't driven to the kind of perfectionism that her older siblings are. But I feel like there's a shift in maturity that's getting ready to take root in her, and she may emerge with a new self-concept that changes all this. We'll see.

Fiona might turn out to be our big fish big pond kid. She's much more comfortable with the spotlight than the others and she is driven to achieve, as much as is possible for a five-year-old. Time will tell!

Their mother is more comfortable as a big fish in a small pond, but likes to be in the reeds near the bottom of the pond where only people who are really looking can see her bigness lurking there.


  1. That's a really good question, and now I'm going to have to figure out which fish and which pond my children are! I know I prefer being kind of a medium fish in a smallish pond, not too big or too small.


  2. Small fish... small pond... with moments of bigness. as extroverted as I might seem on the inside I tend to be more introverted... living in a rural area allows us to do that... socialize and then go home and roll in the drive way from the world when we need a break!

  3. Anonymous11:01 am

    I have been thinking about this with regards to my #3 son. He just left today to attend McGill. Halifax is a much smaller city than Montreal. He only attended high school for 2 years but academically for sure he enjoyed being a big fish in a small pond. I think that at least at first at university he will be a medium fish in a big pond. He is smart enough and competitive enough to get near the top of the medium fish for sure if not right up to the big fish in a big pond. He will face this too if he joins a mixed martial arts gym. I think that there, he will be quite happy to be a medium fish and will enjoy the bigger pond. He was a quiet shy kid who was happy to be a small fish in a small pond until he got to his mid teens. He is also the middle child who didn't come into his own until his older 2 brothers left home, they are 2 and 3 years older than he is, and suddenly he was the oldest of the 3 kids at home.
    I have never given this topic much thought before, thanks for the interesting topic.


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