I’ve got this blog post bubbling around in my head, it has been percolating there for over a week now, waiting a time when it can make good its escape. First, there was the noise and chaos of the school holidays. Then our internet access disappeared. Now my head is stuff full of cotton wool as the beginnings of a head cold start to suck away at my brain cells. The poor blog post has almost given up the battle and is crawling out through my fingers and into the keyboard in fits and starts, limping its way to something hopefully coherent…. is it possible to be coherent when you’ve been averaging 2-3 hours sleep a night for some days? Who knows, let’s dive in and give it a go before the blog post floats away into the ether of my subconscious.
Recently Annie and I went to see “How to Train Your Dragon” at the cinema, it was a fantastic movie and we both really enjoyed it. I used the protagonist’s story to talk to Annie about how he was ‘different’ from his peers and that was okay and good. But it still something wasn’t sitting right, the moral of the story as with so many movies was that it is okay to be different, as long as you do something spectacular and gain the people’s ovation and fame forever (why yes I may have been watching Iron Chef recently.)
Why is it not okay to be different and live an ordinary happy and fulfilled life. Why is it only okay to be different when you are the hero/heroine?
I feel sometimes like I’m setting my girls up for failure – see the hero, he thinks differently too, isn’t it wonderful. Oh look he saved the world and now all those people who ignored him/bullied him/didn’t talk to him, now they are his friends and it doesn’t matter that he thinks differently. Why-why-why. … yeah, I know it makes good tv/movie but still this is not the message I want my children to take away. Sure I’d love for my girls to be out there doing amazing world saving things but I’d like for them to be accepted for who they are first, not be going out to save the world to justify their existence in it.
I was talking to a friend about this and she said it was the classic Ugly Duckling tale. The duckling is ostracized and teased for being ugly and is not accepted until it changes itself into a beautiful swan. Whilst the duckling’s personality remains the same it had to change its external appearance to be acceptable to the majority – it was not okay for the duckling to be different. If the duckling had just been accepted for who he was then he would have been saved a childhood (ducklinghood?) full of pain and exclusion.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could see past the different to the beautiful child inside? Let’s tell the world that it is okay to be different and just live a normal ordinary happy life, without having to go out and save the world. Accept our peers for who they are, embrace their differences.