I’ve seen several versions of the same story in the media in the past year or so. It goes like this:
* Little Boy is especially attached to a pink sparkly accessory.
* Mom lets him wear it to the store.
* Mean Old Man says, “That’s for girls. You don’t want to grow up to be a sissy, do you?”
* Superhero Bystander says, “I think it’s wonderful that you love pink, sparkly things. I do to!”
* Everyone applauds each other for being such unique individuals and not letting society’s standards force them into conformity.
I applaud, too. I truly believe that each person is specially created, unique from everyone else who has ever or will ever live. You are literally God’s gift to mankind and, if you put your energy into acting like everyone else, you are depriving us of the individual that is you.
But I also wonder…
Are we making life harder than necessary on our children by teaching them to just let their freak flag fly whenever the urge hits?
How much of our “celebrating individuality” is just some form of thumbing our nose at the world and saying, “You can’t tell ME what to do!”
That doesn’t seem so much like individuality as pridefulness.
I’m not talking about telling a little girl who loves woodworking more than anything in the world that she has to play with an Easy Bake Oven because that’s “what girls do.” But…
When my 2-year-old son sees his Mama putting on lipstick and says he wants some too and I respond, “No, baby. Lipstick is for Mamas. Little boys wear chapstick,” am I forcing him into a mold or am I just teaching him to pick his battles wisely so that, when the day comes that he needs to really dig his heels in and fight he won’t be beaten down by all the little skirmishes he’s already been through.
What do you think? Should we teach our kids to conform at times or should we always encourage individuality?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!