We hear a lot about luck during the month of March. One phrase I cannot stand: "You're so lucky."
Here's what I am lucky for:
- I was born American.
- I was born into the middle class.
- I was born with white privilege.
- I met "the one."
- I got pregnant easily with Junior.
As for the above list, yes: I'm lucky. I'm not ignoring these factors, especially the top three. I understand the unlevel playing field and agree that it exists.
But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm referring to people employing the phrase, "You're so lucky" when it has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with hard work.
Over the past week, I've discussed luck with several friends.
Friend #1 (marathon runner): "People tell me all the time that I'm so lucky that I don't have to worry about my weight. I say to them, 'Well, come live my life and run with me for a week. Then, see if you have to worry about yours.'"
Friend #2 (former professional poker player): "When I'd win a hand, other players would often say to me, 'Oh, you just got lucky.' I'd smile and wouldn't say anything. I wasn't about to tell them that it's all in the math and has nothing to do with luck."
Friend #3 (fellow mom): "Can't you just take 'You're so lucky' as a compliment? You'd be much happier that way."
"Sure," I replied to Friend #3. "A backhanded compliment."
Throughout Junior's life, I've been told, "You're so lucky" at many points. The most obvious one is that I get to stay home. When he was a few month's old, it's that he slept well. Now, it's that he's very vocal and has a good attention span.
Do I think my kid's special? Of course I do. But what mother doesn't?
I'm proud of my son's vocabulary and the fact that he can sit and read with me for an hour. But this isn't about luck.
We've read to him 30-60 minutes a day since he was three days old. We've taken him to music class since he was two months old and listen to a lot of lyric-rich music. We didn't start screen time until age two.
There are no secrets to what we do. In fact, we're just doing what our doctor told us, and what is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I'm not looking for a medal. And I'm not seeking out compliments. But don't be confused: when you tell me that I'm so lucky for things that I've worked for, I may just get worked up.
Maybe Friend #3 is right: I'd be happier if I just took the lucky comment as a compliment. She wondered why I'd even post on this topic.
Well, here's why: Because sometimes, people say stupid shit. For me, ignoring someone's hard work, and chalking it up to luck, is stupid. It's ignorant to assume that an outcome is the way it is due to chance. Consider the person's effort, consider her process, and consider that you, too, could accomplish the same.
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