I was raised with what I like to call "Southern Woman Syndrome." That's not an insult to my parents; it's just the way things are in the south if you are a woman. I define it as wanting to please everyone all the time and wanting everyone to like you all the time, even if you don't like them. It stinks, and it's too much, but it's very common down here.
If you read my blog post about zombies, among other things, you know the last year or so has been one of great change for my family and me, at least mentally. We've stopped trying to live like society tells us to and started trying to find the way that is best for us, and I've discovered that other people don't always like it. It turns out when I talk about choices we've made that may not be typical (like paying off debt, getting rid of extra stuff, opting out of a lot of the food system, wanting to travel a lot with our kids), people interpret this as a criticism of their choices, even though that isn't what I say or mean at all. They can get a little defensive, and then I get a little defensive, and then I change the subject and make a mental note to stop being so honest all the time. That's not really the lesson I want to put out there, but I do want to warn people who are going against the norm that it happens. The first time you encounter opposition to something you're really excited about, you will be shocked and possibly a little hurt, and then maybe a bit pissed off. It's like the seven stages of grief, but much faster and more irritating than sad.
The things that made my husband say people think we're weirdos change from time to time. Last night my third grader's class performed at the PTA meeting, and the parents of one of her friends sat next to us. Without going into much detail about our religious beliefs, I will say we are teaching our kids about all major religions and also about people with no religion at all in the hopes that they will tolerate everyone and choose their own (if they feel like they need to) when they are older and able to understand what they are choosing. My husband and I have both said we have a lot of respect for Buddhism and sort of lean in that direction, and my 8 year old likes what she knows about it so far. Apparently she told her friend we are Buddhists, and the friend's mom asked us about it last night. She was very sweet and just wanted to be sure that was right (probably because it's weird where we live). We explained our method of teaching about all religions and laughed it off, but it stuck with Drew.
|I wonder what that frog is asking.|
It's not that he is bothered by what other people think of us, and neither am I, but it is something we think about, especially where our kids are concerned. I want them to be unique and not to care about other people's opinions of them like I did growing up (see Southern Woman Syndrome above), but I know their feelings are going to be hurt when their peers realize they are not exactly like everyone else. That is the nature of kids, and unfortunately I think it's more and more the nature of our country. All the more reason to get our acts together and take off in a year or two!