I grew up, like a lot of my friends, not really feeling at all like I belonged where I was. My trailer park roots are not something of which I am ashamed, but mother always said that I must have been mixed up at St. Francis Hospital in Dayton, OH, with a missing baby from the Rockefeller family. My champagne tastes on a beer budget have gotten me in a financial pickle more than once.
But that’s not exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes when we don’t feel like we fit in it’s because we really don’t fit in. That’s not to say we are better than those around us, but we may very well be different. It’s as if we are trying to park diagonally when everyone else is parking parallel. We tend to stand out.
While our school systems would like us to believe that we are educating free-thinkers, the teachers who allow students to think outside the box are few and far between. Today many educators are more concerned with test scores and measurements than they are with teaching our young people how to reason or think creatively. When a child does not conform to the norms of the school or society she or he can be set apart as undesirable.
We must each decide how much we wish to fit in without jeopardizing our individuality. At the same time we can be more loving in how much latitude we give to those around us in how they choose to express their individuality. Just because we are different than those around us, or around those who are just different from us, doesn’t mean we or they are wrong. Neither should it require anything more than a change of outlook. It means each of us is uniquely qualified to express life in a way that no one else can. That is something to be celebrated, not repressed.
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,