I think that the “instantness” of today’s culture makes it very hard to develop as a unique individual. There are endless comparisons available as our world stays incessantly connected with electronic devises and social media.
What would Thoreau have thought of Facebook?
I’ve also watched many groups of kids trying to express themselves and show their distinctiveness, yet they look and act like all their acquaintances. I had to laugh at the incongruity when I saw “Rebel” emblazoned on all the tee shirts of a whole store section.
Therefore, I rejoice when I find a family or a student who rejects comparison. These wonderful people demand to be accepted on their own terms and refuse to conform to anyone around them. They have the courage to say “no” when the standard academic or extracurricular path isn’t working for them. They choose to pursue the things that keep the creative juices flowing instead of populating the resume. They don’t worry about appearances. They follow their hearts and chase their dreams.
From my observations, it would appear that students who live fearlessly tend to keep their own counsel and not be constantly checking in with others. They are normally living a very full life that doesn’t have room for the trivial.
As you guide your children through the teen years, I would encourage you to model a fearless life and give them the space to pursue it as well.
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