Supporting children to recognise and value their differences is a powerful part of holistic parenting. It empowers them to be who they were born to be.
We have to stop thinking of being different as a bad thing, being different is actually a good thing.
You might not feel this all of the time, but the truth is we are blessed to be the parents of children who are different.
It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations of society, of the education system and even of our friends, family and neighbours. Those expectations we have to raise a ‘normal’ child, that fits in with everyone else.
I can personally tell you how exhausting and stifling trying to be like everyone else is.
For a long time I tried so desperately to fit in, to fit in with my peers, my co-workers, my family, and to basically any group I thought would have me. I felt like I was different, even when I was changing myself so I appeared to be like others, so I would be accepted and fit in, deep down I felt like I was a fraud. I knew I didn’t fit, and I felt that if I didn’t fit in, then I wasn’t meant for this world.
This is a frighteningly common feeling among children, teens and adults. And it’s this feeling of loneliness and difference that can lead our precious young people to remove themselves from this world. I wish I had known then what I know now. How different I would have felt about myself, and my reasons for being born.
I have to check my parenting everyday, especially the words I use when talking to my children, because I grew up being told ‘Don’t rock the boat’,’Don’t think like that’, ‘Don’t upset anyone’, ‘Don’t do that’, ‘Don’t think like that’. I was raised to believe we should do what we are told, to please other people. I believed that I needed to make other people happy in order for me to be happy myself. I tried this for many years, doing what society told me to do and listening to others instead of my own intuition. That awful niggling feeling that I was wasting my life was making me feel depressed, and deep down my soul was crying out to be heard. It didn’t make me happy to live a life for others, it made me depressed, angry, sad and very lonely.
Deep down I knew I was different, but no one ever told me that it was o.k to be different. It wasn’t until I embraced my own differences, by seeing these as gifts to be shared with the world, that I began to live my purpose. I can tell you there is no other feeling like the feeling you get when you are living your purpose. The universe supports you, everything falls into place and the most important thing ever happens. You feel happy.
Now as a parent and a teacher, I want children to know this…..
It is our differences that make us shine.
It is our differences that make us stand out.
It is our differences that make us unique.
It is our differences that allow us to make a difference.
Our differences are our gifts from the universe, and it is up to us if and how we choose to use these to make the world a better place. It’s the meaning of life. To find our gifts, and to use these to make the world a better place.
You may think it will make life easier for our children if they are born looking, thinking, speaking, walking, behaving, and socialising normally. But normal people have normal lives, and who want’s that really…a normal life? Not me, and I don’t want normal lives for my children. I want greatness, uniqueness and sky high extraordinarily amazing lives, that stretch them, grow them, and teach them. I hope they will experience all the greatness that was meant for them, and them alone. That they will embrace their individual gifts of difference, in order to create a difference in the world. Almost anyone who has done something amazing did it because they thought differently. Just as you are not for everybody, so too your child won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, and why should they be.
Different people, lead different lives, and make all the difference in the world. Not everyone will value our child’s differences, so as a parent that’s our job to do for our children.
Sometimes it’s those things that prevent us from fitting in that turn out to be our gifts. Every single child deserves to be who they really are. Thisis why I LOVE the ‘Wild & Free’ approach to parenting.
We want to empower our children to think differently to the others, to step away from the flock and step up to their purpose. It can be one of the hardest things our children will ever face, or one of the most natural things that they ever face. How we view our children’s differences inside our own home, is one of the most important things. To believe in themselves, and their ideas when no one else does, takes courage and almighty self-belief. Empowering our children to embrace their differences, and share their gifts, will lead to an extraordinarily life, and who doesn’t want that?