Everyday life is just that – normal and everyday. But then we notice something a little unusual to us and our brains tell us that it is peculiar or abnormal. Of course, what we see as normal or abnormal is a part of our world view and is developed as a result of how we were raised. For me it is normal to wake up, have coffee and work for a couple of hours before I have a snack. For others, this is abnormal. They wake, brush their teeth, have something to eat and then start working. I currently have multi-coloured hair and although many people tell me it is gorgeous, I get many, many side-long glances telling me that others see this as peculiar.
So why do we see things as being peculiar? Simply put, it is something that we have not thought about or encountered before. As we raise our children, we need to ensure that they are exposed to different things. The world is becoming more easily accessible (think about having to take a train or bus from one city to another when now you can fly!) and we need to encourage our children to be more flexible in their thinking. It is possible to accept something but still disagree with it – many would not consider having multi-coloured hair but they accept that this is something I choose to do. This acceptance after critical thinking is what is going to change the world. There are many strange and peculiar people and things that we encounter, but it is how WE react that teaches our children how to react.
When you see something that does not sit well with you, discuss it with your child and as you discuss it, make sure that you analyse your thinking around it at the same time. Why is it strange? Is it just bad behaviour that you don’t want to encourage in your child? Is it something that makes you feel uncomfortable – why? Learn to accept differences so that your child can grow into a person who will contribute to a more peaceful world.
Use everyday experiences to teach your child to think and evaluate so that they grow up will these skills.
This article appeared in the Roodeport Record last year in celebration of this wonderful day. What do you see as peculiar and how have you reacted in front of your children?