Being Different is Good and Children Outsiders Should Know it
How to help them feel better about their quirks
Peers can give a child hell because of a “wrong” sweater or braces.
Imagine an 8-year-old boy with red hair and enormous glasses. He also has a lazy eye and stutters. Makes you wanna run after him and shout “Gingeeer!” And many kids do, so he stops participating in class. The weirdo finds shelter in a church choir and spends time alone practicing the guitar.
20 years later the whole world knows about his song “Shape of You”. Ed Sheeran becomes an MBE and receives 115 music awards. We love both his talent and modesty.
Being different can be rough. But even when you are “uncool”, you can end up making big things in life.
Now Ed encourages children to embrace their differences instead of being ashamed of them:
“Being weird is a wonderful thing“,
he said in his 2017 motivational speech about his childhood. He’s made it because of his quirks.
The issue of being different
We like predictability. We want other people to be like us. So, we judge anyone who is different. Until they reach success. Then we usually hate or admire them.
Being different is hard.
Peer acceptance is everything to a child. Those who look different, are on the spectrum, gay, from a different culture, or with some disability are unlucky only because they are not like others.
But being different is normal.
You can’t do anything about the way you’re born. A squirrel has a beautiful orange tail, a bat has thin black wings. You accept your own blood, your head, and feet. If you hide your true self, you become miserable. Everybody should feel good about who they really are.
Being different is good.
People who are not like us redefine the standards for all mankind. They inspire us to aim higher. They fight battles most of us don’t dare because we prefer to be comfortable. It is easier to be a part of the crowd.
Being different can be inspiring.
How to help your children if they are outsiders
Give them support along the way. Love their uniqueness so they could love it, too.
This is what experts advise you tell them:
– a story from your childhood
Remember when you felt like crap as a child? Now tell your story. Your kid will realize everybody feels like an outsider sometimes. But it passes. Hopefully, you get over it and move on.
– Your authenticity can make you more creative
Jessica Cox has no arms. Still, she is a licensed pilot, drives without prosthetic arms, and has a black belt in Taekwondo. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She puts contact lenses herself! When there’s a will, there’s a way.
– Your difference can make you braver
What makes you different is like having blue eyes among brown-eyed people. You are good enough. And when you know it, you will be able to do what other children don’t dare to.
– You will become more determined
Focus on the goal and keep going. There are always challenges. If you are persistent, you’ll overcome them. If you failed, try again. And again. Everybody fails.
When life is hard, find the things you CAN control. Try to change them because you can’t change it all. Look for support and give it another shot.
– If somebody really loves you, you won’t feel uneasy about who you are
So, be with those who love you. Don’t waste your time on mean children. You can live even without the most popular kids at school.
‘You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.“
— Maya Angelou
– You will become a better person
Life is often uncomfortable. But when you feel awkward, it makes you grow into a stronger person. And the bad always passes.
You learn something from it. Ask yourself what you can learn from this situation. Becoming wiser is the best present you can get.
It is easy to become mean because a child has hurt you. But if you are still kind to others, people will love and admire you.
Build your child’s resilience by giving your support and helping him/her not get overwhelmed. Everybody has a different capacity to deal with difficult situations. Not everybody manages well to be taken off guard.
- You will appreciate other people’s authenticity
If you are different, you will see the beauty in other outsiders. You can learn more from them. And more people will love you because you have so much understanding.
Nobody likes to stand alone but sometimes you have no choice. As Dennis Merritt Jones states in his article “Strong winds, strong roots”, trees need strong winds to grow. To become taller, the tree requires a deep root to support it. When winds blow, the tree roots grow deep into the ground. The branches sway, but the trunk stands firm. Winds can be good. They teach us how to adapt to circumstances but remain firm. They can make us stronger and more flexible.
I wrote a children’s book about a little outsider — a blackbird who cannot fit in the farm life. Feel free to check it out.
Originally published at https://mariamilojkovic.com.
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