Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On Being an Individual

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. E. E. Cummings

I have been thinking a great deal about individuality and what it means to stand apart from the crowd. At what age do we decide that we must conform to someone else's standards? A certain amount of conformity is necessary for a society to function in a law abiding manner. I am by no means advocating anarchy! I always heard the saying "live and let live". I think this is fine as long as no one is being harmed in the process. Many of the rules we allow others to place upon us are superficial. They have no long term significance and are not pertinent to our eternal welfare. My granddaughter recently had a windfall of shoes and clothes. Anna adores shoes (she apparently got the shoe gene from me). She has a difficult time deciding which "pair" to wear. Almost daily, she wears two different shoes. My daughter carries a matching pair in the car, if needed. My daughter doesn't think it really matters if Anna's shoes match or not. She allows Anna to express her own sense of individuality. Does this make her an inattentive mother? Absolutely not! She knows there are more important issues at hand. My children attended Montessori school and I taught at the same Montessori school for ten years. Most parents enrolled their children in this type of environment in order for their individuality to be nurtured and their strengths optimized. Everybody deserves their opportunity to shine. We all shine at something different! Thank goodness. Each person has wonderful gifts to share, some take a little longer determining what those gifts are and unwrapping them! I tend to be on the slow side of learning. Fortunately, I do learn eventually. It has taken me many years to understand the value of who I am as an individual. There is no one just like me. I have developed friendships with a diverse group of people. We are all different from each other and my greatest joy comes from those individual differences. Why would I want my friends to act, think and be just like me? What is it about certain people that makes us want to "be around them"? You know them, they walk into a room and the room seems to light up! Reminiscing some, what was it that made me want to be part of the "in" crowd, who decided who was in or out? Sometimes we get so bogged down in being part of a group that we lose our sense of individuality. Look at the measures some will go to in order to conform. I like different, different is good.
Do I claim to understand this kind of different, not really, however, I understand the right of this person to display their individuality. I believe we are all children of a divine Heavenly Father and each is of infinite worth valued for our individual nature.
P.S. Visit Delicious Bass ( link above right) to see an adorable video of my very individual and gifted grandson :) but I'm not biased in any way!!!


Anonymous said...

Oh, the picture of your shoes brings me RIGHT BACK to elementary school. One black shoe with white sock and one white shoe with black sock. Yes. YES, I DID.

Anonymous said...

This is the coolest picture I've seen in a long time (after the ones of my grandchildren, that is). I love the fact that Michelle allows her to express her uniqueness instead of forcing her to conform to someone else's standards.

The other night I had a Memorial Day cook out at my house, and one of my brothers showed up wearing some shorts that looked like they'd been slept in, a faded green t-shirt, and his running shoes. His wife was wearing a nice pants outfit and pearls. Anyway, my brother told some of my husband's relatives that I was the most "different" of the four siblings, especially when it came to dress! Huh??? When I laughingly said,"Have you looked at your attire?" he said, "Well, okay, you're the most different in the way you think." We then got into a discussion on Buddhism and why I should take the statue of Buddha out of the foyer. Anyway, we're both a little offbeat in some ways, yet we manage to stay mainstream enough to keep our families, jobs, friendships, and our associations going.

Anonymous said...

I followed up to your blog! I love it! Too true and too cute!