Uniformity is for robots and theoretical scientists!...
Think about it - we continue learning from those around us throughout our lives. If we all had the same experiences and understanding of the world around us there would be no opportunity for growth and learning.
The paradox is, that while humanity finds security in communal groups, the impetus for individual expression and progression creates the very conflict and discord that these groups are supposed to provide security against. Furthermore, many communal groups in which we live, frequently suppress the freedom of expression that we each hold so dear.
We set up rules about what we should do, think and say. Who we should love and respect - who and what we should reject - and how we should earn our living.
It concerns me that at this point in the development of the human race we are becoming more and more obsessed by uniformity than ever before.
There are guidelines about childhood development and behaviour for example - and there are drugs and therapy programmes for children whose developmental behaviour is outside of these guidelines.
There are endless and ever-moving targets in education. Students are required to obtain ever-more impossibly high 'grades' and to this end are put through gruelling exam technique classes, rather than being taught a love of learning, or how to master and interpret the essential elements of a given subject.
As a child, one is 'good' or 'bad', 'clever' or 'stupid'. The same applies to their teachers and parents. - Tell me this - who decides what is 'good' or bad'?
If a child attains an A* grade in a subject they have no interest in and doesn't retain the knowledge that has been drilled into them - is that good or bad?
If a child studies hard, excels in sport and always does as they are told - is that good or bad?
What about the child that seeks to break every rule, to find a different way of doing everything, studies life by asking questions and exploring boundaries - is that good or bad?
Or the child that takes apart their toys to create new and interesting items that others have no understanding of - good or bad?
Lastly, my favourite - what about the maths 'geek' who, to everyone's surprise, fails his exam, losing his place in academia, but gaining the motor mechanics placement he really wanted - clever or stupid?
We all have aspirations for our children. We all want them to 'do well'. My question is - who decides what 'doing well' really is.
Surely it means different things to different people. If your child behaves in a way that is not considered 'text book' - rejoice! He or she has their own personality and is bringing their unique gift into the world - you may not always understand it, chances are you may not always like it - parents' evenings may be a stress and strain for you - but don't compare your child or your abilities as a parent to an unrealistic ideal.
Don't waste those precious years trying to mould your child into someone he or she isn't.
This applies to the children around you now AND the child that still resides within your own psyche! Perhaps you were ridiculed or reprimanded for things you did as a child?
Forgive yourself those childish misdemeanours, forgive your children of the same. Then consider that maybe some of those things, especially those things that got you into the most frequent trouble - are the key to your dreams. The key to your very best talents. (Your children's too!)
Were you berated for being too sensitive? too bold? too outspoken? too dreamy? too chatty? too withdrawn? Whatever it was, consider how this personality trait has or can help you to live the life of your dreams and benefit others into the bargain. If you can do this you will have identified the greatest gift your parents ever bestowed upon you. YOU!
This gift has the power to shine your own individual light into the great mix of humanity. Every experience, every differing point of view and every differing belief system is a piece in the great puzzle of the universe. We are here to learn from one another, not to be the same.
Learn to break free from uniformity and shine your own light, then teach all the children in your care from 0 - 90 to do the same.
(The light in you is the light in me)