Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dear God, Please Don't Let My Children be "Normal"

The impetus for this blog entry might seem bizarre to many of you.  But anyone who is familiar with my convoluted, bizarre train of thought will see that it makes perfect "sense" in my weird, conscious mind.  I was emailed prom pictures of my niece.  They took my breath away.  She was so beautiful and so grown-up.  (Sniff!)  I remember the moment sixteen years ago when I first laid my eyes on her as such a tiny newborn.  (Sniff! Where does the time go?  BIG SIGH!)  What a remarkable job she is doing of finding her way through the quagmire of becoming an adult.  Some of the other girls in the pictures, while looking pretty, were dressed inappropriately-- like little girls playing dress-up.  Sixteen year old girls look ridiculous when they are dressed as if they are costumed for Dancing with the Stars.  The pressures to fit-in and "be cool" can be oppressive.  I was so glad that my niece looked stunning while still being appropriate for her age.

Shortly thereafter, I was reading a blog entry Why are Homeschooled Kids so Annoying?  The final line of this blog really struck me.  The final remark as to why homeschooled kids are so annoying was, "Because no one tells them that the way God made them isn't cool enough."  I found that quite profound, especially when considering the peer pressures that are exerted on our children as they attempt to grow into maturity.

Do we want our children to be just like everyone else?  Or do we want them to be unique individuals?

I want my children to be as individual as their own fingerprints.  When the kids were toddlers, they wanted ice cream for every meal and Christmas everyday.  (To be honest, my son would still love to have chocolate ice cream every day, all day long.)  We used the video Elmo Saves Christmas to try and explain to the kids why something that is "special" is no longer "special" once it is daily or commonplace.

I have been telling my children for years that being "weird" is a good thing. How boring to be just like everyone else!  What a waste of God's beautiful creation to hide your unique self and become just like everyone else.  Really, do we want to be insulting the Big Guy and snubbing His hard work?

I have a little assignment for you.  Look up the word "Normal" in the thesaurus and think of the connotations of the words that you will find.  Is this your aspiration for your child?

average, commonplace, normal, typical, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, standard, unexceptional, unremarkable, usual, conventional, expected, predictable, common, customary, cut-and-dry, garden variety, everyday, familiar, plain, popular, habitual, trivial, 

Part Two of your little assignment is to look up "Quirky" in the thesaurus. Would you prefer that people use these words to describe your child?  Maybe not, but I sure would.  But most of all, I know that I would greatly prefer for my children to describe themselves with the words listed below as opposed to words of "normalcy."  I guess I have always had a bit of a rebellious streak...

eccentric, weird, individual, march to the beat of your own drum, nonconformist, unconventional, perplexing, outlandish, outstanding, outrageous, unorthodox, prominent, unique, singular, unprecedented, unparalleled

I hope that I will raise children with enough chutzpah to avoid the "group think" mentality.  In a world that increasingly demands creativity and the ability to think in order to innovate and be successful, why do we persist, as a society, to make conformists?

Why do we blindly follow others and doubt ourselves and our own convictions?  This kind of "socialization"  I can do without.  I do not want to raise lemmings.

I believe that tonight, and every night thereafter, I will be praying the following:
Dear God, Please don't let my children settle for being "Normal." Grant them the courage to be the unique individuals You created them to be.  Amen.