Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

Be different!

It was brought to my attention by someone who is sexy and honest and noble and amazing (love you, sweetie!) that my last post about gifted kids seemed braggy.

So, I thought that perhaps I ought to follow up.

In a recent post, I pondered (not in the recesses of my private mind like a normal person would, but on the frickin’ World Wide Web) about how to nurture and encourage a capable and fabulous child.

For clarity’s sake, I will reiterate that my kids are absolutely phenomenal.  Best.  Kids.  Ever.  Got nothin’ but love for ya.

But, they are not perfect.  None of us is.  I’m certainly not.  You’re sure as hell not.

And, while I would brag about and embarrass the hell out of my kids if given the chance, that was actually not my point at all.

Each mother, father, guardian and caregiver has a gifted child in his or her life.  But, kids are all very differently gifted.  My question was just how to handle these differences.

I have worked with Special Needs kids, for example.  Just today, a young man who struggles socially and has been identified by a psychologist as having Asperger’s Syndrome, completely rebuilt my class website from the ground-up.  He restructured the code and redesigned my HTML settings to make it more user-friendly for me (a clear idiot who is lucky she can use the WordPress Dashboard).  I have a family member with Down’s Syndrome who can tell you (100% correctly) ever statistic and fact you could ever think to ask about his favorite NFL team.  A few years back I worked with a young lady whose learning differences were sadly never identified, but who clearly struggled academically due to some barriers.  She was the kindest young woman I had worked with, really, and she had a sense of justice and a clear understanding of right and wrong that is not often seen in 15-year olds.

We each have a gifted child.  Most are multi-gifted, even.  But those gifts vary from art to sports to languages to math to computers to mechanics to imagination to manners to leadership and beyond.

My pondering is related to how we as parents both harness the talents each of our kids have, and allow them to grow up to be well-rounded and well-adjusted.  The answer doesn’t seem to be simple.

I know, however, that we’re all certain that we don’t want to fuck this up.

And, we’re probably just as certain that somehow, despite anything we do, we kinda will anyway.

Some therapist will blame us for something someday.

Nevertheless, I’d like to remember (at least just for myself) that differences are good.  Great.  Fantastic, even.  They are to be celebrated.  I just haven’t figured out how, exactly.

Until I do, I would like to celebrate here a few people who have dared to be different and have brazenly flaunted their pride in their differences.

Have a great day…

And, feel free to add your own additions to the list in the comments section!

–Praised now for his innovation and groundbreaking theories, Albert Einstein was misunderstood and disliked in his time for some of his socialist political views and sorta-atheist religious thoughts.  He never attempted to run with the crowd, however.  As a result, he became one of the most revered scientific minds on the planet.

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–Everybody is “green” nowadays, but decades ago, a brave soul named Rachel Carson unearthed new ideas about preservation, conservation and environmental science.  It wouldn’t become chic to wear hemp clothes, go off the grid, reduce a carbon footprint and install solar panels on your house until years and years afterward, but her work and writing about the environment changed everything for the indistry.\

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–She’s not all boobs and lips, people.  While she gained most of her fame because of her looks, Pamela Anderson made it a lifelong goal to end abuse and unethical treatment of animals.  Long before it was cool to “eat local,”  be vegan, quit wearing fur and look down your nose at celebrity dog-fighters, she became a very public spokesperson for PETA and helped bring knowledge about the organization’s mission to the masses.

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–Best known perhaps for his role in helping to abolish slavery in the US, Abraham Lincoln chose to go against the grain in one of the most public and dangerous ways possible.  But, he did, indeed, stand up against the “normal” American life of his time and ended up  changing the course of human history as a result.

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–It might sound like a cliche now.  And, putting her on a list with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln may seem to be a bit…much.  But, Lada Gaga has, indeed, inspired a generation of followers and wannabes to get okay with themselves and embrace their uniqueness.

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–Centuries ago, Galileo risked his reputation and his life to ignore “norms” and reject popular view to pave the way for the changes in math and science that made the world what it is today.

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–The great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. created a new America.  He helped to pave the way for change, boldly standing up against the status quo.

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–Aasma Mahfouz helped launch a new view the world would have of Egypt. And, she helped fuel a revolution.

Aasma Mahfouz helped launch a new view the world would have of Egypt.  And, she help fuel a revolution.

— Come, on…You know the movement for a better understanding of Autism in America benefited from Jenny McCarthy’s publicity.

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7 thoughts on “Be different!

  1. Great post, as always, but I can’t help but shake my head at the very last name/image on your list.

    Not only is she responsible for bringing Austism to world media attention, she is also (partly) responsible for the mass hysteria around the MMR vaccine and the decrease in vaccination rates, which directly led to an increase in the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

    Have you read “The Panic Virus”?

    • You know, I did think about this issue before posting it. And, while I know the research insists that MMR (they don’t even refer to it as that at my kids’ pediatrician’s office) is perfectly safe, it still (admittedly ungroundedly) makes me feel uncomfortable. I have no scientific basis for my feelings and do intend to fully vaccinate my children, I might add.

      But, I decided to include her because I couldn’t justify any other name or face being more readily associated with driving forward Autism awareness or making parents proud of their differently-abled children.

      I get that she is controversial. I think that this was part of the reason I included her. She certainly doesn’t give a shit that she is controversial and I kinda like that.

      So, I absolutely get what you’re indicating here. Totally. But, can you think of another famous face you’d associate with fueling so much energy behind Autism support and awareness? I would really love to expand my horizons…

      • I love your posts and know you must have taken careful time and consideration in your writings. I am sorry if my comment alluded otherwise.

        I must have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to that woman and her campaign, so my apologies to you.

        Now, have you heard of Temple Grandin??

        http://www.templegrandin.com/

        She’s not as flashy as Jenny McCarthy, but is a damn interesting woman!

      • Goodness! I took no offense! Sorry if I was the one whose tone was not properly conveyed. I get that a whole lot, actually!

        🙂

        I was smiling as I wrote my response, I swear!

        I am surprised, I guess that Jenny McCarthy was my first comment topic. I thought it would be Pam. Or PETA in general.

        And, yes. TG is super awesome. I even thought about her first. Just went another direction, that’s all.

        Love ya, Doc!

  2. You know – sometimes I wonder whether we stifle each other by trying so hard not to offend others or to remain ‘pc’. Sometimes – not every day, that would be dull – sometimes it’s ok to have a little brag about your kids. You know what – go for it.

    My Mini Monster 1 is not gifted academically, but she is super talented at gymnastics, computer games and cheek. My Mini Monster 2 is the best potty pooper in the country this month! Yay – love my kids.

    • I love that you have a great potty pooper. Never underestimate how fabulous that is. It took us over a year to finalize our first little stubborn monster.

      And, this is totally what I mean- it is so great to celebrate our kids’ unique achievements and talents.

      Let’s all brag!

  3. MyTwiceBakedPotato on said:

    It is true that kids have their own gifts…some gifts are better celebrated by society 🙂

    For example, my son has a very high IQ which can be a gift but his social skills and sensory issues overshadow his gifts. I hope someday they won’t! 🙂

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