Just be yourself. Every parent has said those words to their child at one time or another. Just be you and everyone will love you! For many years of childhood, those words can ring true. Then come the preteen years and our children must wonder what the heck we were talking about. It's hard to tell a child who stands out that just being themselves will work out when they are living the opposite. My son Jack is one of the most unique, insightful, hilarious, and creative individuals I have ever met. Those qualities are not always appreciated by other 12-year-olds. Throw in the fact that he also has some social and learning difficulties, and the tween decks are even more stacked against him.
Jack was born a comedian. When he was an infant, his angelic face drew many an admirer on our errand travels. During one such encounter, an elderly woman gazed into his face cooing with adoration. He responded by blowing a huge raspberry in her face scaring her to death. He then broke out his mischievous grin. To this day, his wit is quick and infectious. On a recent math test his teacher left a note that he must try to refrain from doodling on his work. Upon closer inspection, he had turned a hexagon into a gravestone that said RIP Poly. "Huh?" I wondered aloud. "Because it's a polygon," he responded in complete seriousness but with a twinkle in his eye.
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To Jack and all the magically different children who are struggling to fit in -- we need you. You color our world. You will write the songs and stories that will inspire us. You will create beautiful art for us to enjoy. Thank goodness we will have yoru comedic genius to make us laugh when there is so much to cry about in the world. You will create the things we never knew we needed, but then can't live without.
Right now, you are in a time in your life when children are afraid to be different. It seems that fitting in is the most important thing. This time will be hard for you. You are too bright and sparkly to hide. But stay strong and be brave because your time is coming. Don't let the insecurities of others cause you to hide away your gifts. They are afraid. Afraid to be themselves, and therefore afraid to let others be themselves too.
Before you know it, the tide will turn. The same kids who were trying to be like eveyrone else will soon be trying to stand out. That will be your time. Your talents and what make you unique will be right there -- perfectly ripe for the picking. That will be the moment to start manifesting your magnificence.