Different Is Not A Dirty Word
Unfortunately most of us who live in well developed economies live a fairly sheltered and controlled life. Most of us who live this life aren’t even aware of it; we were born into it and know no better. We are shaped by our parents, family members, teachers, coaches, peers, the media and other role models to fit into what is seen as the acceptable norm. Laws (often outdated), are made for the masses; supposedly to protect the majority, however that excludes many individuals. We are expected to be happy because ‘they’ are happy with us and we are conforming to a model that is deemed appropriate. However as many ‘successful people’ have shown, conforming to the expectations of others does not necessarily lead to true happiness. If we differ from 'the norm' we are at the very least, labelled, and in the extreme, vilified for our beliefs. This travesty is a waste of human resources; for our questions; and solutions to them are one of the world's most valuable resources.
Rise And Fall Of The Rich And Famous
Often we find that so-called successful people may be happy on the exterior; however all is not well within. The general news media, (which seems to have degenerated into commercial gossip, that was once the realm of tabloids), is oft to report on the misfortunes of the rich and famous. Reports regarding illegal drugs, alcohol, unfaithful behaviour, violence, lying, cheating, arrests etc are not only prevalent, they seem to be acceptable. A very common explanation that these people give, is that they were 'searching for something', or they were 'under too much pressure.' This is unfortunate, for many of our children and perhaps even we adults look up to these people. Does it make these people bad? Of course not, however if you don't want your own children do not follow this path, you need to instil a strong sense of self love, self awareness and self esteem. Children should be encouraged to ask questions, give their opinions and be honest about their feelings without fear or judgement from their parents.
How To Encourage Your Child’s Uniqueness
Allow your children to be honest with themselves and others about their opinions and true feelings, (tactfully of course). While your children may look like you and have similar traits and skills to you; respect them for who they are and allow them to be that person. Help them to explore new ideas; the way things are, is not always the way things should continue to be. People in charge are not always right; if someone has more power than you, you do not need to give in to their truth if you feel it is wrong. Living simply does not mean you are poor, just as indulging in luxury does not mean that you are rich, there is more to happiness than financial wealth. Celebrate your child’s individuality and encourage your children to have a high sense of self esteem and to seek knowledge as power, or in the words of my old school motto, “Seek Wisdom As Gold.” They will be better equipped to accept people different to themselves, to cope with adversity and remain steadfast in their goals.
Allow Yourself To Learn From Children
When my son was born, I was confused and overwhelmed with the responsibility of parenting him... Now I am revelling in the privilege accorded to me; he is my inspiration and an excellent reminder of what life is about. He is enthusiastic about life, he is fit to burst as he's so full of fun and he keeps us honest with an endless barrage of questions. He does not pretend to be anything he is not, he laughs when he is happy, he cries when he is sad, he challenges the status quo and he has an excellent thought process that is not hindered by the belief systems of others. When my daughter was born, the words, bliss and joy kept going round and round in my head... Finally I knew the true meaning of these words, yet I now realise that I was born full of bliss and joy, as were we all. As with most people, I was taught to conform; you don’t run around being enthusiastic, fun, honest, blissful and joyous on a daily basis without attracting some criticism. I am grateful that I have two beautiful children who have taught me that the only person we need to love and approve of us, is our self. The answer to all your problems lies within; as does true happiness.
Whilst I have come to this conclusion based on my own life experiences, many influences have slowly, (painfully slowly unfortunately), have started to gel to a truth that is improving my outlook on life and even importantly, my children's future. I have not read all of the books below, however I admire the authors and perhaps they can convey a truth along the same lines that sits well with you.
Further reading, (by far better authors) that influenced me:
People that influenced me by attending seminars and sessions:
I have also been very lucky to have worked with, played sports with and been associated with many bright, talented, wonderful people; too many to mention, (though if you read The Luck Factor, maybe it was by my own design). The thing that I admired most about them is that they seem to fit well within their own skin and be happy to be who they are, despite any trials and tribulations they have suffered.