I Actually Want My Kids to Be Weird

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funny kid thumb I Actually Want My Kids to Be WeirdAre your kids weird?

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 importantPutting 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.

Photo: Copyright PhotoXpress.com

PinExt I Actually Want My Kids to Be Weird

21 thoughts on “I Actually Want My Kids to Be Weird

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Great, great post. Life is about finding our particular “greatness” and living it, regardless of what others think or say. I like to say that it is important for we as parents to help our kids develop their “volume control” – to be able to turn up the volume of their own voice (to hear their talents, strengths and passions – their unqiueness) and to turn down the volume of the outside voices that tell them how to act, who to be and what to do. Life is ours to invent – and we have what we need to make it great for ourselves. We just need to be okay being weird or different than others, if it is right for us. Loved your post. I wrote the book, The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World. It is a guide (in story form) of how to find our place – to be who we are and bring it to our world in a way that makes a difference. In short, how to live out loud. Site is at http://www.thegreatnesszone.com and my blog is at http://www.greatnesszoneblog.com.
    Thanks for your posts – I am glad to find someone on the same path – looking to live life in a big way. Journey well.

  2. This is brilliant. We spend so much time worrying about whether our kids are fitting in, when we should be encouraging them to stand out. I love to celebrate the ways my kids are weird, and unique, and true to that inner drummer. (As Salinger said, “How wonderful, how sane, how beautifully difficult, and therefore true.”)

  3. What is normal really?
    Everyone is unique or as they say in the life of brian by monty python;

    “You are all individuals, you are all different! – Not me!”

    Everyone is unique and should be unique. Doing the same thing as you believe everyone else is will only get you going at a high speed to no where.

    To draw on another TV-quote “Boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before”.
    Daniel M. Wood´s last [type] ..Motivational Tip 10 – Reward Yourself for all Results Program Yourself for Success

  4. Fantastic post, Jeff. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’d definitely want them to break down the barriers of fitting into the norm, even if it means being weird. Heck, I was a weird kid, and for all I know it made me think out of the box most of the time.

    It’s so important for parents to allow their kids to have the freedom of choice. If that means being weird, so be it. Some of the greatest people of our time were labeled weird before they were recognized as geniuses. If kids know they have the freedom to be themselves and break away from being “ordinary”, the chances of them becoming extraordinary multiplies by a tenfold.
    Arvi´s last [type] ..4 Steps To Stop Feeling Trapped and Hopeless- and be Free Again!

  5. Excellent post. I want my kids to be ABLE to fit in, but not because they are so regular that it just happens. Both my kids are probably weird by regular standards…I am certainly weird by most standards. But we are some of the happiest people I know!

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  7. This article caught my eye because my kids are weird………….and proud of it. We home schooled them and they are the coolest people I have ever known. When my two oldest were around ages 4 and 6 we were at a food court near a Jr. High. When the school let out the kids poured into the mall. My two kids asked me why these kids acted so strange. They were carrying on trying to get attention from each other, were rude, and loud. So I explained to them the teenage dynamic of how teens act and why they do what they do. They both said they didn’t ever want to be like that. And they never did. They have not always had friends either because they didn’t want to compromise themselves to fit in. Yes it is time people reevaluate how we go about our lives and not just follow along blindly.

    I also must comment that assuming people are obese because they eat to much is only a very small part of the picture and in some cases may not have anything to do with it at all. We live in a world of processed foods, industrial farming and fast food. We live in a world where there is sugar in almost every food unless you make it yourself. The food we eat is not the same as it was 50-100 years ago. We have pesticides, genetically modified food, and chemicals added to food. Most of the food we eat isn’t really food at all. It is fake food. There is an over use of grains and sugar, which cause weight gain. We have been given bad diet advise from the government. There is a grass roots movement of “weird” people in this country trying to take control back of our food supply. Obesity is a complex issue and telling your daughters to eat less, is thinking stuck back in the 80′s. There is an epidemic of thyroid disease, low neurotransmitters, hormone imbalances, inflammation, which have escalated because of our poor American SAD diet. Obesity easily escalates once these conditions establish themselves. I am teaching my kids to real food that they cook themselves and to stay away from junk food and sugar. We buy organic fruits and veggies and are finding sources for better quality foods. We are eating traditional fats and not the processed rancid oils like most of the ones on the grocery store shelves. We get grass fed beef delivered to our freezer directly from a farm. We have started our own garden just as my grandparents and parents did. It is time to get back to the way we were designed to eat but simplifying the problem by stating that people eat to much is not going to help the situation. I agree with you that we can not live our best lives if we are over weight and have health problems but we must teach them so much more than “don’t eat to much”.

  8. While I find your initial sentiment laudable, I find your reasons somewhat worrying.

    Enjoyment of life, including work, and smart money management are laudable goals, but you start heading off into iffy territory after that.

    OBESITY: it sounds like you are shaming fat people. This is a trait I would hope to NOT encourage in my children. Obesity is both dependent on how you define it (using the BMI scale is a highly flawed measure, and the cut off has been changed over the years) and there are a wide array of factors that contribute to body size, starting with the unalterable like genetic factors, moving on through groundbreaking research on how the microbes in your gut influence your caloric uptake, on through the ‘obvious’ factors like diet and activity level, and further on to factors no one likes to mention, like socioeconomic status and the fact that availability of high-quality calories differs based on income level.

    If you said that you hoped your children grew up to be healthy, that would be one thing. But no, you just don’t want them to be fat.

    MARRIAGE: A large part of the reason that marriages lasted so long in the past is because women were not allowed in the work force in any significant numbers, and were thus financially dependent on either their father or husband. I, for one, feel no need to return to such a time. It seems to me that having an inherent inequality built into all marriages drastically reduces the true honesty and intimacy that a person can bring to such a relationship.

    Hopefully what you meant is that you hope your children grow up to be emotionally healthy adults who are comfortable with both emotional intimacy and long-term commitment, but that certainly isn’t what you said.

    For #5, I have only minimal complaints, but then you really take a dive off the deep end.

    CHURCH: While I am happy that you have found your religious habits fulfilling, it is certainly possible to develop friendships and a strong support network outside the church. Furthermore, I, like many other people, have suffered significant negative repercussions thanks to some of the bigoted teachings of Christian religious institutions, and I would never say that church is a necessary, or even desirable, institution to have in my life. I realize to a certain extent there is likely a generational divide at work here as well informing this difference of opinion, but I think you might want to re-think your glorification of religious communities in general.

    While I agree that one hopes their children grow up to find communities in which they are welcome and supported, I certainly feel that there are alternatives to generalized church-going.

    DRUGS: It was at this point that I realized that writing this comment was probably a hopeless task, and that our starting points were too far apart for me to ever really reach you, but seriously? Drugs? Obviously there is the need to raise your children to understand the risks and take appropriate precautions and it is certainly possible (I never touched alcohol that was not given to me by my parents before ate 21), I think there are other things to be more worried about than your kids having a couple beers when they go off to visit colleges or smoke pot from time to time. As long as they know to not operate motor vehicles while under the influence, to know their limits, and to only experiment in a group of trusted friends, your kids will be FINE. And much less likely to hide things from you if they don’t think you will judge them harshly for it. But hoping to keep your kids from ever trying drugs is a fools errand and I hope, for both your sakes, that you take a chill pill on this one (metaphorically, of course).

    • morningface, as you state in your comment, we obviously see things quite differently. I will refuse to provide my kids a list of excuses they can use to let themselves off the hook. Accountability and personal responsibility for one’s actions are the first step towards a happy and successful life. I don’t want my kids to settle for what is acceptable. I want them to strive for what is best. Yes, I know, I’m weird. Thanks for helping to point it out.

    • Hi morningface,

      I respect your personal views on everything that you elaborated on, to each his own, but I’m going to have to disagree on the drugs. Creating an image of drugs being “okay” in today’s society is the root of the problem. It’s the reason people try to fit in. Because they too want to be “okay” instead of the weird kid. It’s amazing how we label the strong kids as “weird” and call the stoned-to-the-brink ones as “normal teenagers”. That there is the real problem. Peer pressure is the #1 reason kids do some of the unexplainable things they do…like drugs. Self-confidence, willpower, and the strength to fight their own battles is all they need to go through life and handle its difficulties. Drugs, even for experimental purposes, will only stall you, get in the way, and distract you from the real problem for weeks, months, maybe even decades. Drugs should only be used for medicinal purposes, not as a crutch in your hardships.
      Arvi´s last [type] ..4 Steps To Stop Feeling Trapped and Hopeless- and be Free Again!

  9. I agree with the whole sentiment of this article and applaud you for saying it! I am not a particularly religious person but I took your comment about church going at face value and am not going to nitpick on that one. But I have to say, I am amazed at morningface’s comment about drugs. Seriously, you just accept that drug use is to be accepted and expected?? A little bit of pot is ok?? You obviously have not witnessed what this drug does to young brains and this whole attitude about pot being pretty harmless is absolute crap. I am behind Jeff 200% on this point. I think as a parent you have to approach this issue with absolute abstinence being your goal because if you send the message that a little bit of ‘experimenting’ is normal, well you have already lost the cause. Of course, now I expect the comments to come back and say how my kids will never talk to me for fear of judgement blah blah blah. That is not what I am saying but my goal is definitely one of total abstinence. I hope my kids have a rich enough life that they don’t have to look to escape it through drug and alcohol use. So, yeah, I want my kids to be weird too.

  10. Oh I so agree with you Katherine. NO DRUGS!!!! If kids have strong self esteem and sense of self they will not even consider it. This has to be taught from a very young age. Our kids have so much respect for us and themselves that they would never consider it. They would rather have no friends at all than do stupid stuff like that. They wouldn’t “trust” anyone who does drugs or be friends with them. Plus often times a little experimenting turns into addiction. I have a relative who has a few to many fried brain cells. All my kids have to do is look at him and know it isn’t for them. His life has been sub par because of it and I’m sure it started with a little experimenting. My dad was an alcoholic-I’ve seen how destructive it all can be. Life is challenging enough without seeing it through a haze and potentially ruining someone’s life.

  11. Great article, just a shame that you insist that going to church is important.

    It’s not.

    What is important is the feeling of a connection to the world and everyone in it, not trusting in a supernatural being to be the solution to all problems.

    There is nothing religion can provide that a good community cannot without all the claptrap and the requirement for “faith”. if church rocks your boat, fine, but don’t try to say that a life can’t be complete without it.

    Everything else you write I totally agree with, who wants to live a “standard” life… get married, have kids, work at a job you don’t like much, pay a mortgage, spend two weeks a year on holiday, back to work. It’s a big “hamster wheel” and thats considered “normal” (i.e. all those normal folk who don’t want to step outside societies “norms”)

    • Fettler, as I said in the article, I knew at least half would disagree with me about this one point. We see it differently and that’s okay. Thanks for being a reader!

  12. Jeff, not sure how I stumbled upon your site, but I enjoyed this post (and others as well). As the father of three daughters I’m right with you. Communication being the imperfect art that it is; I understand some of the above objections, but I for one am right with you. Keep ‘em coming. You are on track.

    • Phillip, I’m glad you found my site too and I appreciate your encouragement. Being a parent is the hardest, but most rewarding job in the world. It is nice to know there are others out there with the same mindset. Have a great day!

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