I grew up with an obsession with being normal, and by normal, I mean American. Apparently the kids in my school deemed me to be unusual, and let me know about this on a daily basis. I didn’t understand what was abnormal about myself and constantly wondered what I had done for them to be so mean to me, and to treat me as an outcast, when my friends in the playground in France treated me kindly, despite my French not being the best.I hid the fact we traveled as best as I could, and lied about it when I got older. In the small farming town we lived in, many people didn’t leave the state, so to go overseas often and be half British didn’t rub the right way.
I have had this odd feeling of being inadequate that lingered with me since then, second guessing if I was doing things ‘correctly’. I would go out of my way to make sure not to upset anyone and hopeful not make anyone mad or angry with me. Until, that is, I became a parent and realized that I wanted to do things differently.
I realized that with this choice I would get judgement, regular criticism, and maybe even get excluded from certain things because we chose to homeschool and do attachment parenting, as well as travel internationally. This realization made me feel uneasy at first, as it goes against my anxiety prone, worry wort side that is trying to please everyone and not cause a fuss.
But I don’t want my kids to lower their standards or shatter their dreams because an unhealthy society tells them that their dreams and goals and way of living in ‘wrong’. I want my children to have lots of friends, but good ones, not the fairweather kind. I want my children to feel confident in themselves and their decisions and not go through what I did, with a lack of self esteem due to peer pressure.
So, I have had to face my inner demons and just ask myself
‘ Can you do this? Can you make decisions that will cause people to be judgmental of you, or even dislike you for your choices?’
And after careful thought about it, I stated hell yes I can!
Because the reality, the truth, is that we are judged no matter what we do, who we talk to, what kind of schooling we get, or what we wear. In never really ends. Even if people don’t vocalize their criticism, it’s there in their minds, despite a smile of their face. And their judgement has actually little to do with us, but more to do with them.
I don’t want to associate with people who have a big issue with us being unschoolers and holistic. I want Kaya to seek out people who are kind and considerate. We don’t care if people are similar to us or different, just as long as they are kind and compassionate.
That is our rule.
It’s important for Kaya and our future kids to know that Mom believes in them, and I do. And in order for me to show that I can’t doubt my actions and choices, nor theirs. I must believe in them, and myself. And it has been a process for me, as I am learning this parenting thing as I go. But it is worth it and I feel ecstatic about our future and where it could lead us. And I know that what society really needs is not children who fit in, but who stand out and are game changers, who challenge the status quo and dare to state their opinions or beliefs. Lead by their hearts and not by their minds, they will be the ones who make changes to the world in which we live.
It’s up to us parents to deschool what we have been taught is normal and open ourselves up to new possibilities for our children and for ourselves.