A certain amount of conformity is normal, I suppose. I mean, I do it a lot – I realize. I do conform to some societal things, like wearing clothes, driving on the right side of the road (mostly), etc. But is that really conformity? Or is that just following the law and the rules? Am I doing those things because everyone else is? Or am I doing them because it makes my life easier and more hassle-free? I guess I’m more the type of person who, if she’s going to conform to something, it’s going to because I find there is value to it in my life – on whatever level. I am just not going to conform because ‘everyone else is doing it’.
My kids and I had one of those rare family moments this morning. I find the greatest family moments come in spurts – – very rarely get caught in pictures – but they make an impact somehow. Today – both my kids missed the bus, so I had to drive them into school. Apparently, being the day before Thanksgiving – today at school was kind of a ‘free day’ and the school dubbed it “Wacky Wednesday’. It was “Pajama and Wild Hair Day” – all the kids could wear their PJ’s to school (of course they came home with a list of what is considered appropriate pajama wear – and what will get you kicked out on your ass. “No we don’t want to see Johnny come off the buss wearing his superman boxers and a pair of white tube socks – only”). So, this morning my beautiful daughter comes down the stairs wearing this pink nightgown – – silky in texture…little lace on the sleeves – – a ruffle at her feet. She’s 11. I could see through it. Being the spoil sport mom that I am I said “Oh hell no you are not walking out of this house in THAT – if that is what you want to wear for pajama day – then you will march right back up those stairs and put a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants on underneath it.”
She did that little pre-teen-drama-queen flop on the couch and the stream of words that came whining out of her sweet little mouth are words I never ever thought I’d hear one of my kids utter……”But Moooooooooommmmmmmmm…..if I do THAT I’ll get laughed at and the popular kids will make fun of me.”
The popular kids??
Now, I know for a hard fact that I did not raise any sheep in my home. So, I told her that very thing. She looked at me oddly and said “Sheep, Mom?” I repeated, “Yes, sheep! You do know what sheep are, don’t you?” She said, “Um…small, white, fluffy……..”
I said “Yes, that too – very good. However, a characteristic of sheep is that they follow along, mindlessly. One sheep after the other – – following in herds…following suit…following the leader. I bet 98% of the popular kids in your school are sheep. And they are sheep because they look to someone else….or a group of someone else’s…to see what’s cool, and what’s not – – unable to make the determination on their own – – they require the lead of another, or a group. We are not sheep in this house.”
With that – she headed upstairs and changed into a very cute pair of Pj’s: Blue pants with white clouds and flying cows..adn a matching T. A fluffy blue robe with white clouds on it and a pair of blue fuzzy slippers. I told her that all the popular kids will be dying to have an outfit of their very own, just like hers. She laughed.
In the car on the way to school…my son made some comment, I don’t remember what it was – but from the backseat my daughter says, “B. is such a sheep.” I responded, “B. is SO not a sheep – – he just kind of makes his own trail and stands his own ground.” To which he responded:
“That’s right – I’m a goat”
I said “YES! Be a goat! Don’t be a sheep – – be a goat!” I told them that goats stand out in the crowd. Then I had to re-think and clarify and told them that just because you’re not a sheep….but rather, a goat – doesn’t mean you should break the rules and get into trouble. More often than not, it’s the sheep that find themselves in trouble all the time because they don’t have enough sense in their sheep brains to stop themselves from doing what they know is the wrong thing – – because, well, they are sheep – – and what would the rest of the herd think of them if they started acting like a goat? I said, “It’s the sheep that you see jumping off the cliff with all the rest of the sheep. When one sheep jumps – so does the other – – the goat, on the other hand, stands tall and proud at the top of the cliff watching the dumb sheep fall to their deaths below.”
To which my son adds, “Right – because goats like to stay on the top of the mountain.”
Good kid, really.
So, they got out of the car and headed into school – – but my daughter stopped and returned to the car – – I rolled down the window…and she looked at me and said “Mom – I’m going to be a goat today” I said, “Good – – and you be the best goat that you can be.”
I drove away from that school thinking that both of my kids were going to get into some serious trouble at school today – and it would be all my fault. But then again, maybe not.
So, for one of their Christmas presents – – I am on a hunt for two goats. One for my son and one for my daughter. A stuffed goat. A beanie-baby goat to put in their stockings. Some kind of goat to remind them that they are their own person with their own unique individuality and they don’t have to follow the leader if in their heart, they feel something different. It’s ok to be different and unique – – – it’s also very ok to set yourself apart from the ‘popular’ kids in school. Though, I realize, easier said than done – – it’s hard sometimes…but it takes a goat mentality to accomplish it 🙂