I don't know what made me remember this:
I was probably in the sixth or seventh grade when I had a conversation with my mother's parents about my reading habits. By this time, I had been reading science fiction for years. I was reading Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Wells, Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Theodore Sturgeon and others.
So there I was, somewhere between eleven and thirteen years old, already reading at an adult level – as I had been for years – and I made the mistake of mentioning science fiction.
And my grandmother fixed me with her frosty, one-Vulcan-eyebrow-raised stare, and said, "You should be reading hard science."
At the time, I didn't think much of it, except that I recognized it as a typical response for her. Looking back on it, I think, 'Hey, your eleven-year-old grandson was already reading at college level. A little encouragement and praise would have been appropriate.'
But the way my grandparents saw it, Mom and Dad fucked up by not having someone standing by in the delivery room at my birth with an SAT prep kit, ready to start drilling me with questions and answers as soon as my head popped out of the birth canal. Nothing I did would ever have been good enough.
God knows what it was like for my mother growing up in their house.