Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 81: One of These Things is Not Like the Other

I've never been one to fit in, really, but I've definitely never been so far outside of "normal" as I am now. And raising my kids in a non-mainstream way means they're going to be different from the get go.

Of course to us, we're normal. And (stepping up on my soap box for just a moment) biologically speaking, we're the normal ones. But to most people, we're weird. What we eat is different, the way we communicate is different, the products we use (or don't) in our home are different, the activities we do (or don't do) are different, our ideas on health and wellness are different, the way we see the world is largely different. Not across the board, of course we do plenty of "normal" things too, but based on majority, we're different.

Mmmmm...Collard Greens
Every once in a while I have an interaction that reminds me just how "out there" we really are. Like today at ECFE when I found myself trying to explain why Jackson was eating pumpkin seeds yet again instead of having a non-organic apple with the group. It makes perfect sense to me - his body is extremely sensitive to chemicals (apples are about the worst on the list), plus nutrition is a major part of the healing process he's undergoing - but not to a person who doesn't share our nutritional values or health philosophy. No matter how much sense it makes, I just come out looking like some crazy woman who won't let her kid eat fruit! And no matter how I say it, it's assumed we're "too good" for something everyone else is having.

Someday the boys will be old enough to look around and see that their normal isn't the same as most other people's normal, and when that happens they'll be faced with the choice to accept who they are or change it. I'm hoping that raising them in a way that promotes confidence and conscientiousness will lead to the former. Self-assurance will keep insecurity from nudging them toward assimilation, and thoughtfulness will help them understand exactly why they are who they are, allowing them to see the value of their differences and the cost of conformity.

What I hope they learn by watching me interact with the world that's so different from us is that what people think of who I am or the choices I make doesn't have any bearing on who I actually am or the validity of my choices. And conversely that a person's value or "acceptability" doesn't depend on agreement, that seeing eye to eye is a bonus, not a requirement for acceptance.

Jackson is already practicing this kind of acceptance of himself and others. It doesn't rock his world that other people eat foods we don't have in our home or that they don't eat what we eat. He has no problem with the fact that his friends watch DVDs and he doesn't or that other boys like to play trucks while he's cooking or playing with animals (although, thanks to our good friend Carl, trucks are slowly moving their way up the priority list!).

In his perfect innocence, different isn't attached to judgment. The fact that everyone does things in his own way is simply a fact of life, not something that has to be ranked as better or worse. He doesn't know it, but he's living the philosophy I've been working so hard to integrate into my black and white world. So as he models this effortless openness for me, I'll do my best to help him hold on to it as he grows up.

No comments:

Post a Comment