I hear those words A LOT!! Mostly as a statement, not good, not bad. I can't really argue with them. I do have a different way of seeing things. Not always right (WHAT?!!) but almost always different. I'm not sure I quite get the label of dancing to the beat of my own drummer, but I could if I had that much confidence in myself. Inside, I am a free spirit but outwardly, I often conform to what is expected. I really do not like to be the center of attention - I love for my ideas to be the center of attention, but not me. It's not that I mind talking to groups or mind answering questions, I'm just not comfortable having all others judging what I have to say. I'd guess this way of thinking goes back to school, when catty girls loved to sit and judge and talk about others. I never really got into that, and my close friends didn't either, but many loved to bring others down to feel ...ummm, I'm not really sure what, but apparently it did something for them. I was pretty sensitive and maybe that made me a target. I was also a nice person...not sure why that mattered but it seemed to. For whatever reason, I felt judged a lot. I think this has made me sensitive to others' feelings. I would certainly hate to be the cause of someone's pain and don't think I would knowingly do that.
This past week I learned of a sweetheart of a girl being hurt by others' words and actions. I don't know all of the details, but I do know enough. Other people are knowingly and willfully hurting a precious person. I don't get it... With social media, bullying (yes, I did say the b- word) has gotten out of control. It is so easy to hurt and spread lies behind the ease of a keyboard. I am constantly telling my 5 and 6 year olds to worry about their own business unless someone is hurt or needs help. Sounds like some advice that older kids could use. Some are so busy bringing others' down; it would say so much more about themselves as people if they would work to boost others up.
On a different, but similar note, I've witnessed A LOT of unique children over the past 21 years in teaching. Give a person a cast, and they have friends galore. Give them a disability that isn't as evident, or treatable, and suddenly "Let the judging begin!" Labels, judging, whispering, laughing...WE are all so darn smart at trying to place everyone in that "normal" box. I read an article the other day that perhaps it's actually more normal than not to be on the spectrum, to have some degree of ADHD or ADD, to have our own quirks. Most of us do have our quirks...how do we determine which ones are ok and which ones need "fixed"? to function in society? I've seen many children with autism who may not function the same as others, but they have amazing gifts that the "regular" kids do not possess. I've seen kindness and tolerance from many who don't fit the norm. Those catty girls may not have qualified to sit on the spectrum, but their brand of cool is not one I'd care to imitate. I'll take quirks and kindness and tolerance over boxes any day.
Friday is mismatched socks day. - be proud to be different. I plan to participate and have invited my students. We need to learn to celebrate our uniqueness and special talents. It is
for me! Who wants to join us?