Friday, March 5, 2010

Frame Of Reference

Even before my oldest was born I found myself looking around at other people's children. Mostly other people's daughters because while I have a basic knowledge of what it's like to be a boy, other than chasing them on the playground I really don't know much about girls.

It's turned into kind of a fun game. Whenever I run across some exceptional young lass I make kind of a silent prayer that my girl turns out as smart, or outgoing, or independent as the kid I'm seeing. From what I've seen of school age girls in the local theater scene I'm confident that my high hopes are not in danger of being dashed.

But now I'm finding that the game is no longer a necessity. Not being terribly self-aware in my formative years I was unaware of the following fact:

Kids are blissfully themselves until they go to school, then they spend a decade or two trying to be just like everybody else for the most part.

Which is not to say that my daughter came home from kindergarten all cookie cutter and stuff. But suddenly I was noticing speech patterns that weren't her, and her taste in music became decidedly main stream. She's still all the things that make her our special little kid, but there's a definite element of The Herd in her manner now.

So now instead of playing the game as a casual observer I'm playing for keeps. If there's one thing I could do over in my life it would be to have relaxed about being myself when I was in grade school instead of after college. So now, if there's one thing I accomplish as a parent I hope it will be to enable my kids to be as comfortable in their own skin as possible.

It's not easy growing up a smarty-pants oddball. I can't imagine it's going to be any easier growing up the progeny of a pair of such oddballs. The move that wins the game will be showing how being different from the heard has its own distinct advantages.

Game on!



Irish Gumbo said...

Oh, it's on, my friend, ON! Hehheh, I've been cogitating on that very subject (because I'm a worrier that way) and I hope, hope, hope I can get my daughter to be comfortable with who she is, not who everyone else wants her to be because they were told to be someone else, too.

"It's not easy growing up a smarty-pants oddball" Right on bro, especially if its coupled with a severe lack of self-confidence (that would be moi)(ahem).

Well said, and good luck!

Pamela said...

me, too.

Nydia said...

I love you and Pam because you are definitely in the "I don't give a damn" category of people.
Thanks for the heads up. I will do better at not stifling my little one's abilities. Hope that I can impart to her the importance of being herself and not letting other people subdue her spirit.

Anonymous said...

Catching up on months worth of "stalker" reading and have to say this is by far my favorite post... Just wanted to let you know!! ...and I agree - Game on!

MichelleK (Pamela will tell you which stalker I am - hahaha)