It’s ok to be different!
I remember when I was younger I thought I would never fit in. Now I am older, I am so glad I never learnt to fit in and be ‘normal’. While raising two sons, I constantly had to fight the urge to make them conform. I knew what society expected of them, but I also knew they were diverse, intelligent and individual and they had every right to be who they wanted to be.
When my youngest son was in grade 6, he was not fitting into conventional school or meeting the expectations within the education system. As difficult as it was, we pulled him out of school and home schooled him for a number of years. What an amazing time it turned out to be. When you teach your own child on a daily basis you come to truly understand their uniqueness (along with learning how to overcome some serious frustrations).
Since that time, I have spent many hours contemplating diversity and individuality and how society continues to try and break us down to conform to functional society expectations. If average and normal are all we ask our kids to be, all we ask of ourselves, then we may never again see the likes of Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Erin Brockovich, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and so on; the list goes on.
None of these people fitted into our standard educational or community expectations. They grew up not really understanding why they were not ‘normal’. These individuals for whatever reason rose above the general population to become amazing individuals.
My question is how many gifted young people are cast aside because they don’t fit in? How many don’t yet understand their uniqueness or have the parental or community support to mature their individuality? How can we help them discover who they really are?