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The middle, the average, the ordinary – these are often ignored in life, with the extremes of anything getting the lion’s share of attention. Time to change this?
“Hey, do you stay here?” I asked my student Dhrithi as she lolled in the back seat of the school bus. I had boarded the school bus one morning, a thing I did the days my husband could not drop me at school.
“I have always been here whenever you boarded the bus but you never notice me!” the girl said, almost with a sigh.
As I sat down hurriedly to cover my red face, I pondered on how we do tend to ignore people who happen to be sandwiched in the middle of any category. The ones who excel are praised to the skies, and the ones who cannot cope are given special attention. What about the ordinary ones? Where do they fit in?
Isn’t the case of the middle child in the family similar? They often go unnoticed as the eldest one is generally the apple of his mother’s eye and the youngest one is the spoilt darling of the family, if we go by stereotypes. Being the youngest of five children, I have seen these same dynamics play out in my own family, and can vouch for the fact that the middle child like ‘Malcolm in the middle’ needs to fight to survive, and is often taken for granted.
Why do children who have the misfortune to get stuck somewhere in the middle in life have to pay the heavy price of going unnoticed?
That day I found myself hovering around Dhriti’s desk as she worked on the English assignment I had given her. With a few guiding touches here and there, she was able to produce a piece of work that was good enough to be expressed in class. As she proudly read out her piece of writing a few minutes later, and glowed at the praise she received from the class, I felt that a little love and encouragement was all that was needed to make the ordinary extraordinary.
Image source: Pxhere