Fact: Bergmanns are about as imperfect as people get.
Fact: Bergmanns aren't anything special.
Fact: Bergmanns are always the teacher's pet.
We siblings have pow-wowed many times over this illogical, incontrovertible embarrassment. We cannot nail down what it is that appeals to teachers/leaders/adults-in-general; we cannot uncover our secret super power. But there you have it: no matter how obnoxious, immature or idiotic, we get showered with compliments on our excellent behavior and superb talent.
You may be wondering why this boon is such a bane. Whatever Bergmanns are, we're fair-minded, and we don't find it fair that we always get special treatment and attention for no apparent reason other than the magical luck of the Bergmanns. It's also frustrating, to be held on a pedestal, because mothers invariably point us out as model children -- frightening to think the sort of kids we're cloning! On another level, it's hard to be real and human: nobody takes your faults seriously and you wind up living a double life.
But there you have it. It's fate.
I am slightly self-conscious about this position, for while it's nice to have my immaturity excused and faults ignored, I hear horrible stories of jealous "normal" people who don't have the magical luck of the Bergmanns. I don't want to rub people the wrong way because I'm never in trouble and by some reports can do no wrong. All right, confession: I get jealous of people who seem perfect, are praised as perfect and aren't. I find myself secretly cheering their downfall -- their high-minded ideals and convictions and goals come crashing to the ground in a heap around their soiled perfection. Ha!
Thomas More (somebody somewhat famous, really intellectual and very dead) said, "Pride measures her advantages not by what she has but by what others lack" (Utopia). That's the danger of the teacher's pet, the goody two shoes -- she becomes direct target. Her downfall becomes everybody else's success.
I know a beautiful, sweet girl who gets the glares from other girls because she's too good to be true. By the rumors, her blue eyes and blonde hair must mask something horribly normal -- it's just not possible to be beautiful, popular and genuinely good. No matter how much dirt the girls flung at her or how far they dug to expose her, they kept running into the same thing: she was all three and more. It didn't make them like her; it made them more determined that she was fake through and through.
This shouldn't bother me, except that I like people and like them to like me, and I hate to make anyone feel second-rate or appear like a snooty-nosed fake. Even though I am, in some moods. I want to shoot higher and improve myself and shout to the world how freeing it is when I break through -- but it always feels safer on the ground, close to the status quo, cuddling up to mediocre.
I know how impossible impossibly good people are. I feel it imperative to expose their -- their hypocrisy -- no, their normalcy. I want to block out the sting of second-rate. I want to ignore the chance of improvement. I like the status quo. Nobody likes the goody two shoes -- the teacher's pet -- the "prude" -- the "legalist."
I hate discouraging people with anything that I do or attempt to do. I don't mean to leave anybody behind while I try to take off to new heights. People -- older, wiser people -- tell me things aren't possible, that nobody does them, and I want to say, "Yes, they are -- I've done it" or "Who cares? I'll try anyway" but that seems like egotism, like delusion, like presumption.
I'm throwing off that fear now. It gives me too many reasons to give up before I get started. It excuses my laziness. It makes humility too proud.
It seems to me that so much could be done if one had the discipline to do it, that all things are possible if there weren't people who didn't give 100% dooming others who give 110%. I've learned that success is usually a few steps beyond normal. Maybe the goody two shoes -- the ones we don't like because they achieve the things we are too lazy to -- are the ones who should set the new reality, the new bar of excellence. Maybe I should stop judging and discouraging those who attempt the impossible -- maybe the impossible really is possible. Maybe I should get out of my critics' armchair and jump right in with the teacher's pet and the impossibly good -- who knows where I'd end up?
Where do you fall on the goody two shoes/teacher's pet scale?