I remember once my mom told me about a striking chat she had with a patient of hers – an old professor, retired, and quite ill. He, apparently, wasn’t the hospital’s favourite because he complained a lot and scorned everyone about everything. Once, when she went to check how he was, he turned to her and said, “you’re a non-conformist, Mrs. F”. My mom laughed at the remark and asked him why he thought that. (And I can tell you the professor was right) He told her that he noticed that she was the only person on the floor wearing shoes that weren’t the uniform’s (everyone wore Crocs).
Then, something else happened a few months ago.
What would you do if your kid, who just managed to successfully put his shoes on (rain boots), wants to go out in 30 C outside and play, with his rain boots on, that is? We’re all dressed in shorts and T-s, flip flops, and my son – wearing rain boots. I asked him to take them off, he refused. I tried various ways to convince him now it’s not a good time to wear the boots, he insisted he wants to go out in them. That threw me into a dilemma. If I let him go out in his boots,will I spoil him because he won his way, or do I leave him to celebrate his own achievement? Or do I put my foot down and fight with him until he takes them off?
So, we went out – my kid, riding his bike with traffic light yellow boots on his feet, white vest, cargo shorts, and a baseball cap. The other moms in the park didn’t help but comment/point/boo the boots. But all I cared was that my kid didn’t bother anymore about any of it. To him, there was no issue. He was playing and was happy as a clam.
Then it struck me. My kid is a non-conformist. He could be, anyway.
He is immune to societal pressure (so far), unaware of conformity, and apparently – his own leader.
If I could cultivate those well, perhaps my kid will turn out just fine.