I’m not sure when I gave up the idea that I needed to be like everyone else but I do believe it was fairly early. Middle school was tough but I soon developed the understanding that being ”cool” was not something I desired.
Television portrayed nerds as students with pocket protectors and jocks as having the right to bully them. But I still walked the halls of my high school proudly with my I Love Lucy lunch box and my Harry Potter book in my hand, before the movies made Hogwarts mainstream.
Now that I am a parent to these three wonderful children, I am attempting to raise these humans with the perfect amount of “weird” built in. And I MUST say, the weird is strong in this house.
As my son began 4th grade, I shared the obligatory first day of school picture with the Facebook world. In the picture, he sported his socks pulled way higher than one might deem necessary. A friend made a joke that someone needs to tell him to pull his socks down. While I wasn’t offended by the comment, I made it clear that I would absolutely NOT inform my 9 year old that he was being “uncool” with his sock choices. I knew at some point the other kids would inform my son that he was doing someone out of the norm and he would probably make the “proper adjustments.” Until then I was happy with him being himself.
At job interviews, we attempt to highlight what sets us apart from other candidates. In relationships we would all like to believe that we are the one for our significant other. We attempt to be nothing more than ourselves as adults so why do we spend so much time trying to get our children to blend in? why aren’t we teaching them to be happy standing out? Peers and media and so many other influences will put countless expectations on our children to fit in. So in my house, we embrace the weird. And we do that spectacularly!
We don’t bat an eye when the Middle picks out her own outfit [unless it’s for church or a holiday].
We aren’t phased when our children pretend to be dogs in front of other people. [Yes that’s a thing]
We don‘t buy our kids the MUST HAVE item.
We don’t make them wear their shoes on the right feet. I’d rather teach self-sufficiency and pride in oneself than have their shoes on correctly.
We let the Middle pretend I’m not her real mom. OK so this one needs some explaining. To read more on this spunky middle child, click here and be ready for a giggle.
No matter how you embrace their oddities or model living outside the box, know that you are teaching resilience and self-love. Your home should be the safe place where children can be exactly who they want to be. So let your boys wear nail polish. Play along when they pretend they can speak Polish. Let them be themselves. Let them be weird.