It is the desire of most parents that their children be normal and learn to fit in.
I’m not one of these parents. Instead, I want my kids to grow up to be something very different than the norm.
Sure, I want them to be happy, successful (however they define success) and respected, but what has this got to do with being normal?
I’ve done some checking and normal is not what it used to be. The more I look into what is normal, the more I want my two daughters to be weird. I simply don’t want them following the pattern the rest of the world seems to embrace.
Normal Is Why I Want My Kids to Be Weird
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines weird to be “of strange or extraordinary character : odd, fantastic”. In other words, weird means going against the grain. It means standing out from the crowd in a very distinct manner. Given this, I definitely want my daughters to be weird.
Why do I say this? Because here is what appears to be normal:
1. Two-Thirds of Americans Are Disengaged at Work
According to a survey that Gallup conducts, about two-thirds of all American workers are disengaged at work. They are spending more than eight hours a day at something that puts a little money in their pocket, but they totally wished they were somewhere else the whole time.
I want my children to work at something they truly enjoy. I want them to find what fulfills them and by pursuing it with their whole heart, I believe they’ll earn a great living from it. If normal is being bored and dispassionate about work, then I absolutely want my kids to be weird in this area of their life.
2. Average Credit Card Debt is $6,672 per Household
The majority of Americans owe thousands on stuff they can’t even name. We are a bunch of hyper-consumers. We seem to think that the next new toy or new car or new whatever will make us happy and when it doesn’t we go buy something else. Our recreation is going to the mall. It is disgusting really.
If this is what is normal, then again, I want my kids to be weird. I want them to be good money managers. Yes, I want them to be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle and to have things they enjoy, but I don’t want them to live beyond their means. As many have found, this does not make you happy and it is often a recipe for financial disaster.
3. Over a Third of Americans Are Obese ( & increasing)
Some estimates say that by 2020, 75% of Americans will be obese. Obesity is an epidemic in this country. This problem seems to mirror our issues with debt. We just can’t control our appetite for more. Too many folks simply fail to control their impulses and then wind up in a position where their lives are seriously compromised.
There are a myriad of ways that obesity impedes a person’s health and lifestyle. Unfortunately, being overweight is quickly becoming the new norm. I love food, but I definitely want to teach my girls that they have to eat in moderation and exercise. Again, if obesity is normal, then I want my kids to be weird.
4. Half of All Marriages End in Divorce
This is a very sad statistic. Relationships are so key to living a fulfilling life and yet so many of our most intimate connections don’t last. I think most of us can agree that divorce is a painful, traumatic experience. It leaves emotional scars that effect us for years to come.
I certainly don’t want my daughters to have to go through this. I hope they can find loyal, gentle, loving husbands that treat them with all the respect and kindness they deserve. It used to be that divorce was a very rare and strange occurrence in this country. However, it now seems quite normal. We hardly even notice when it happens to others. I hope my daughters are weird and stay happily married until death do them part.
5. 65% of Americans Lose Sleep Due to Stress
We are a sleep-deprived nation. The CDC recognizes that insufficient sleep is a serious public health epidemic. Does that sound as odd to you as it does to me? Maybe not, because apparently it is quite normal for Americans to suffer from a lack of sleep. There are several reasons for this, but the stress that comes from our over-committed lifestyles is certainly a big factor.
I want my kids to find what seems to have eluded so many of us: a balanced, unhurried lifestyle. We try to do too much. We seem to think that constant busyness, stimulation and activity is what we need. Just look at how many things we enroll our kids in. They have soccer, dance, gymnastics, softball, summer camps, scouts, play dates and the list could go on and on. This is why they grow up stressed out and unable to sleep. They are too wound up! I’m raising my girls to be weird in this way. They do stuff, but we try to teach them balance and give them time to rest adequately.
6. About Half of Americans Don’t Go to Church
I personally believe that faith is an important part of a well-rounded life. Obviously, only about half of you are going to agree with me. In my mind, there are just so many reasons that going to church is so important. Putting the deeply spiritual reasons aside for a moment, I don’t know how my wife and I would have gotten through a few really tough patches if it hadn’t been for the support we received from our friends from church. They were there for us the whole way.
I want my kids to experience this same feeling of community that I’ve enjoyed over the years. I sincerely hope they will be weird in this way. I want them to discover the meaning and joy that comes from belonging to a body of believers. I know this is no longer the norm, but it is still something I want for my daughters.
7. Half of High School Seniors Have Used Drugs
Despite our best efforts, drug and alcohol use among teens is rampant. Our young folks just don’t seem to understand the risks they are taking when they engage in such behavior. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens and over a quarter of fatal crashes involve alcohol.
I’m sure there is a lot of peer pressure involved in high school around drugs and alcohol. The need to fit in is often overwhelming. Studies show that parents that talk to their kids regularly about the risks involved in drug and alcohol abuse significantly reduce the chance their kids will succumb to this pressure. I’m going to do what I can to keep my kids from becoming one of these “normal” statistics.
I Want My Kids to Be Weird in So Many Ways
Hopefully, you can now see why I want my kids to be weird. What is so often normal nowadays is completely opposite from what I want for my kids. This means I have an uphill battle to fight. Society is very persuasive. Therefore, I know I’m going to have to be an engaged and active parent to counter these norms in our culture. Yes, I want my kids to be weird and I’m going to strive to make it so.
Do you want your kids to be weird? Where do you agree or disagree with me? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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