Goody Two Shoes

2:30 AM

Fact: Bergmanns are crazy.

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?

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14 impressions

  1. Bailey you guys are really special in my life and i like be friends with you guys I am glad that God put you guys and my life

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  2. I'm sorry, but either I'm not awake, or your philosophy is just too intricate that I can't understand. But I do get the general gist. I think.

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  3. I'm afraid I don't fall to far on the goody two shoes scale, be it good or bad, but I do admit to the same feeling of 'she can't be THAT good, can she now?' When I'm surrounded by beautiful young ladies in their starched, collared shirts, floral skirts, immaculately-old-fashioned-ultra-feminine hairstyle, perfectly matching accessories and can quote the book of Psalms (ok, just kidding there, but sometimes it feels that way) I feel like a fish out of water in my cargo shorts and tie-dye t-shirt, hair half falling out of a pony tail and muttering "I think that's found in Proverbs... yep, pretty sure. Somewhere between chapters 1 and 31." However, from an outsiders perspective I suspect that people in general view me as pretty good, but I feel terrible about it when I get that impression from others. If they could see me- inside, as I truly am, in all of my sinful nature and depravity, I'm quite certain their view of me would change. I must keep reminding myself that God HAS started a work in me that he WILL complete. Sanctification is ugly business, littered with scrapes, bruises, the painful dying to self and realizations of one's own utter dependency on the Savior of the World.

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  4. Laura, I am so happy you could come to Living Hope last night! It's a joy to see you striving for Jesus, and I can't wait to get to know you better over the summer. *HUGS*

    Bethany, pardon my frankness, but if you didn't take such long midnight showers, you wouldn't be so tired.......

    Savannah, girl, your comments have been cracking me up. I love how you capture yourself through words....we'd get along very well. ;) And oh, do I know what you mean -- around such girls I feel so...inadequate. Which is my own fault, for equating long floral skirts with superiority and legalism. I don't have much grace for the "goody two shoes" and I'm under heart construction right now to fix that graceless attitude.

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  5. I've always been the teacher's pet. Even when I was too young and naive to realize it, I was the favorite of all the Sunday School teachers, all of the AWANA leaders, Upwards basketball coaches, and the little old ladies in the grocery store.

    At that age, a child's behavior reflects a lot on the parents, and I'm glad they got the credit they deserved.

    However, when I got older, I started to get the credit. It was very disconcerting to realize that the leaders all liked me so much, when I knew that I was perfectly terrible. xP I felt like I'd created a standard that not even I could attain.

    It only got worse in youth group. I always try to transparent, and it's ever so vexing when no one believes that I'm really as bad as I'm saying, when in fact I am worse! If everyone thinks I'm an angel, then no one is going to believe me when I say that I'm dreadful towards my siblings at times.

    Worse, I felt like I was such a hypocrite. In my interactions with the immature and obnoxious youth, I behaved in a "Christlike" manner, all the while stewing about how much I didn't like them.

    I never wanted to act in a way that did not reflect my heart, but when my heart was so filthy, what was I to do? It was either hypocrisy or flat-out rudeness for me, and I decided that the first was the better option. ;)

    This is shaping up to be an awfully long comment, but I do wish to give this somewhat amusing example.

    In 9th grade, I was playing Upwards basketball at a local Christian camp. I had the same wonderful coach that I'd had since 7th grade, so it should have been a positive experience. However, one of the coaches was an eighteen-year-old girl who I'd never interacted with, but had seen from a distance and disliked.

    Now that I got to experience her bad attitude, veiled rude put-downs, and overall bad behavior in person, I hated her with every fiber of my being.

    The whole basketball season was a struggle because I hated her so very much, yet knew that I was sinning too by my passionate abhorrence. I wrote all sorts of rancor-filled journal entries, had conversation upon conversation with my mom, and had a thoroughly miserable time.

    By the end of the season, I declared that I wasn't going to attend another game and have to listen to this girl's snarky comments. (See how wonderfully mature I was? xP) My mom talked to my coach, who was very surprised to learn about this issue. (She was busy coaching and was never around to hear the comments this girl would make.) She was impressed with how "maturely" I had handled the issue.

    The coach said she only wished she'd known before, but took the girl aside and advised her to watch her words that night.

    At the end of the season, this coach always gave out awards to recognize player's achievements. (Best effort, most improved, best offense, best defense, etc.) This year, I received the Christlike award. Though I'd sinned more this season than I had ever sinned in another, my "Christlike" response to this girl was celebrated. xD

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  6. I'm glad to join in the conversation! And it's a plus to actually be a source of amusement to someone without the other person seeing my face. (My siblings seem to think my facial expressions are the closest I get to being funny, I love to laugh but I am an absolute failure at telling jokes and being quick witted myself!) If you ever find yourself in Oklahoma, let me know- I think we'd be great friends!

    Spot on, Bailey, about the legalism/superiority, I know it's my own fault picturing that personification as 'godliness' when Scripture says over and over that God is concerned with the condition of the heart (notice I cleverly did not include references due to my own number phobia and constant memory loss of such) it is me that is having the issues, not the illusive 'them'. :)

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  7. Oh, Abigail....I'm laughing and I'm cringing because that ALWAYS happens to me. I forever manipulate situations into making me look like a little angel when I have offended just as much as anybody. It's ridiculous. It's wrong. We teacher's pets need to shape up. :) Thanks for your transparency!

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  8. I've always been the goody-two-shoes in my family, and the teachers pet. When I was little I would drive my siblings mad by pushing them to the edge and then putting on my cupid's hat and saying 'What would Jesus do?' I am the hypocrite of hypocrites, and the chief of liars. I used my feigned piety to manipulate and hurt people, and looking back, I wished that I would have been mute or else received triple the spankings. Now, as a teenager, it really bothers me when the teachers favor me, or when I'm praised because I know what I'm like. When I finally had a verbal upchuck session with my Sunday School teacher, telling her what I'm telling you now, she would only nod her head with a disturbing 'oh aren't you just precious!' look on her face. I hate that people think I'm that good, and that in-tuned with God because I'M NOT. I'm an awful terrible person. I no longer carry along the facade of my younger-years, but people still can't seem to understand that I don't like/deserve praise in any form.

    I'll stop now because I'm stealing your page space. Sorry about that.

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  9. No worries about stealing space, Annie! The comments section is for you girls. :) I'm loving all your thoughts. I wonder if all teacher's pets struggle with self-esteem issues? We recognize how horrible we are, something nobody seems to bother to point out, and yet we're afraid of insisting too much on our awful points for fear of losing the teacher's pet status. I am constantly fearful of how I come across to people because so many treated me like I was impossibly good. Now I'm confused about who I really am and whether people actually like me -- because I don't have a clue about what makes normal, awful me the teacher's pet. Do you girls feel the same way?

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  10. Ugh. I fall on the most extremest end of the goody two shoes/teacher's pet scale as possible. For some reason, all parents and teens think I'm the most perfect kid on the planet. I'm the daughter that all the mom's are throwing their teen daughter's at because I'm a "good influence". And all the time I was in public school, all the teacher's loved me. And yeah. It kind of stinks and it makes me almost want to be bad. ;]

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  11. I can so relate to all the comments, especially how you feel like a hypocrite, etc., because I feel the same way! (Surprise, surprise . . .) I’ve been thinking about this issue and have come to believe it’s a PRIDE issue. Thinking about yourself all the time, whether in a good way (pride) or bad way (pity party), is not healthy, is not godly, and is SIN. We as Christians are supposed to be focused on Christ. And then . . . that’s when we start pretending we are completely focused on Christ and become hypocrites! That’s when we need to come to Jesus and repent and ask HIM to help us. It’s not easy to change. But we must and we will, through God’s Grace alone.
    Thank you for opening an important topic, Bailey.
    God Bless you all as you seek HIM.
    Katelyn

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  12. Bad girl Alexxus? Nah, I like you the way you are. :D

    Katelyn -- you have nailed perhaps the biggest struggle in my life. I get so caught up in prideful self-absorption and lose sight of Jesus, then I correct that and become "super spiritual" and hypocritical, and then I fall back into the mopey "I'm a terrible person" thing....and back and forth and back and forth. But there IS victory -- at a high cost to self. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  13. Bailey - LOL! Okay, okay.. ;]

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  14. Thomas More: That Catholic fellow famous for his opposition to translating the Bible into English?

    I am not a teacher's pet, more like an intelligent burro. That being the case, I am never right.

    Of such is life...

    May the glory of the Lord be ever your rereguard.

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Hit me with your best thought! I'm very interested in your unique perspective. If you'd like to discuss things in private, feel free to email me! :)