01 August, 2012

It Isn't About Fitting In...

She stood at the bar, toes pointed, performing ballet exercises, and verbally talking about leaving ballet (something she had done for eight years) to start playing soccer.
I sat in her green chair, stunned.
She has never liked soccer.
She has never expressed an interest in soccer.
Being the parent I am and living where we live, I enrolled her in soccer when she was quite young realizing that, like it or not, she would have to know how to play. She didn't mind running and playing with friends, but she didn't like anything that involved the ball. At the end of the day, the child didn't and doesn't like physical aggression that is aimed at her - running after the ball she is kicking or shooting or holding. Aggression on the track or the road is fine - aggression directed at her is a whole different story.
i asked "why"
It is interesting to hear the words that children say and the ideas that cross their minds. My daughter's father's family is big in soccer. Whether the kids all wanted to play soccer, I don't know. I just know that they weren't exposed to anything else and that he loves soccer. My daughter believed that she could give up ballet and play soccer and that she might then fit into that family.
I related this story to her dad and our counselor. he was delighted. he loved the idea that our daughter would give up something she loved to do something to try and fit into his family.
I was, once again, stunned.
Why is it that we have to try and fit into a family over the family loving and accepting us for who we are and what we love as individuals?
That was years ago, my daughter did not give up ballet and she never took up soccer.
In our family we enforce the idea of giving freedom to do ad explore and be true to yourself. We don't ask that people change to be loved or friends; rather, we accept the differences and find the great part of that. I give my daughter exposure to diversity to the extent that I can. She has done things that I never would have imagined possible as a child. Somethings, like soccer, she doesn't like. Other things, like hang gliding... she loves. But the key is that she had the opportunity to see if these were of interest to her. It wasn't about me or our family, but giving her a chance to find her own loves and passions.
I love my daughter, I fully recognize that she is maturing and is looking at her future more with age. While some kids have parental direction, I have worked to give her a blank canvas. While I was unaware of all the options that existed beyond small town America; i want her to recognize that the opportunities are endless... and if she doesn't see it on the horizon, she can create it. That is just the world in which she lives.
it isn't about fitting in and being loved as one of the clan. It is about living her passion and her life and celebrating the same in others.
Maybe it is about teaching our kids (and ourselves) to not only dream, but to believe that we can make dreams happen? That we can be part of a community or a unit and do what we love.
One day my daughter might stop studying ballet. one day she might take up soccer. One day she might do something different than she has ever done before (That last is a given)... and I will love and accept whatever it is she chooses. As I told her that evening, years ago, "I only ask that it is in keeping with your heart."
And as she continues to find her way and strengthen her wings, I will hold her hand, give her hugs, remind her that mistakes are opportunities to learn, and I will love her more than she will ever realize.

No comments: