Surely you can sometimes wonder, who you would have been had the world you were born into not been so intent on telling you whom you should be – what roles you are supposed to have?
Of course, it is impossible to ponder your way towards an answer to that question, but to consider it – both within yourself and what you pass on to your children – is yet not completely irrelevant.
There are so many roles assigned to you without you actually (consciously) approving of them. They are somewhat taken for granted and are based on factors of sex, age and so on. A little sad, monotonous, and frankly idiotic to throw roles at people that way, but some of them maybe filled a function somewhere in history.
Today we know both more and better and to be “different” or “unique” is brought forward in many contexts as preferred, strong, and attractive. The riddle being that so many of us experience that the requirement to be a high achiever, just as “everyone else”, and to fit into narrow frames have never been higher than today.
“Function as everyone else whilst being totally yourself” is a phrase that puts at least me out of balance. I want to teach my kids that being different is good, important (and probably even necessary for our survival). But then I throw them out into a world that shows you that “being different” is strongly conditional…
With that in mind, it must be more important than ever to speak to our kids about being yourself – allowed to be unique? And to try placing meaning to it, as surely it is easy to just say. But do we really live by the conviction – do we dare speak of being different (and what does it mean)?
Something else I believe is important to truly speak to our children about (and to yourself) is failure. What does it mean to fail and can it sometimes be good to do so?
The expectation that everyone (little and big) should aspire to be the best at everything that they do is so big, while failure is an eternal companion to us all. We fail continuously and even though it feels like the world is ending right then and there, is it not a good idea to befriend failure just a little? Unless we do so, the risk of always feeling like failures will be constant – without ever actually having failed?
What do we as grown-ups radiate when we fail and what is it telling our kids?