My son, the youngest of my children, has recently developed a particular wardrobe preference. He's obsessed with wearing shorts and knee-high socks. Because the Michigan weather is not yet shorts-worthy, he has instead taken to pulling up his socks over his jeans or pants (that's trousers for you UK English speakers). Honestly, it looks silly to me... and to my daughters who seem to be embarrassed and annoyed by his choices. They were complaining at the bus-stop, asking me to "make" him take his pants out of his socks, a request that I refused.
Recently at home, we've been talking about values and integrity. My children are 10, 9, and 6 years old, and like I learned from Stephen Covey back at Uni in the 90s, I've begun my parenting journey with the end in mind. I'm raising human beings with the intention that they grow as positive forces of love in this world.
Hopefully, I consistently model our morals and values, so they've been learning along the way, but now they are old enough to learn the words that accompany the daily actions that define us.
I asked them what our Value was about acceptance. Don't we value accepting others completely and lovingly as they are? As we talked about the unique aspects of their wardrobe choices (one of them barely pays any attention and throws on whatever she reaches first and the other has a rather quirky sense of style that reminds me of Punky Brewster), I could see them start to let go of their firm belief that I should "make" him change his style ways. If he loves it and feels good, I asked them, then why should he change anything?
"Do you feel good about yourself when you're dressed like that?" I asked my adorable little guy. He absolutely beamed. "Yes!" Then that's good enough for me.
My daughters shrugged and laughed and just then, I noticed the snowflake that had landed in "Punky's" hair. It was a star! Another snowflake floated gently into her long, brown hair. It was perfect - like the cut-out clings we stick on our windows at Christmas. I had just enough time to snap a picture before the school bus appeared.
As I walked back to the house, I reflected. Why is it so easy for us to respond with awe and wonder to the beauty and uniqueness of a snowflake? We celebrate the fact that no two are ever the same. School children are taught this in a way that feels magical and the knowledge fills us with delight. Why, then, don't we feel that about one another? We are each one of Nature's unique and perfect creations; as different and as beautiful as snowflakes.
We never judge a snowflake, do we? Or ask it to change or conform to be like we are. Why do we do that to each other? Just for a day, I invite you to look at others the same way you would a snowflake - with awe and wonder. See each person for the perfect, magical, unique expression of Nature and humanity that they are.