Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Different Isn't Bad - It's Amazing!

     I stood in a high school gymnasium today, watching as students were dismissed to find their parents amidst the mayhem.  Some were tall, others tiny, some smartly dressed, others obviously making a statement by their apparel.  I realized how difficult a time high school is as each person develops at different paces, not only physically but emotionally.  There are the typical groups that will form this year as any other year: the jocks, the class clowns, the nerds, the losers, the popular crowd and the list goes on.  It saddens me that humanity continues to try to categorize each other like shapes in a shape sorter.  We are so much more complex than that!     

     High school can bring a sense of excitement in some and dread in others.  Even years after attending, the thought can bring intense emotions to many of us.  It is because this shape sorting mentality has persisted for so long.  There are no two high school students alike and there never will be!  Yes, there will be similarities, but the wondrous reality is that when each of us was made, the mold was broken.  And yet, each and every year, there are students who don't fit neatly into the pre-determined holes and they are pounded down as society acts like toddlers trying to force a circle into a square.  This pounding creates scars that last a lifetime and unfortunately changes the person themself. 

     This year, may we as parents encourage our children, as well as ourselves, to celebrate the uniqueness of each and every soul.  Instead of laughing at someone who is dressed unlike everyone else, consider their bravery in being themselves.  Rather than ridicule those whose interests are not the same, realize we are all made differently.  What an absolutely boring world it would be if we were all the same.  Let's resolve this year to celebrate individuality, to embrace all of humanity and to treat each and every person with the dignity that they deserve.

     I hope the day will come when ridiculing others will be looked down on in disgust and disdain rather than as a passtime in which to join.  May we teach the generations to come to love and build others up in order to put an end to bullying which sadly has become the norm.  May we challenge the current generation to stand up for those who are hurting, to risk ridicule themselves in order to draw a line in the sand declaring the pricelessness of each human life.

     To those of you who have endured the cutting words, the cruel actions, the ostracism even of those living life alongside of you, I say how deeply sorry I am you had to face that.  Don't allow those labels to stick to you for life.  What others say of you is not what defines you.  Be true to yourself and love the person you were made to be.  Be the best YOU you can be and be content.  As my mother often says, "comparison is the first step to discontent."  We have had it all wrong for so long.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other.  We need to have the courage to BE.  Be the unique individual you were made to be and stop being afraid of not being like everyone else.  You were never meant to be a carbon copy.