I can't think of any better life motto for Christian than this. Christian can't be like the rest of the world even if he tries. Everywhere Christian goes, he stands out. He is different. That is just a fact. No need to dance around it. He is marching to the beat of his own drum in life.
And I couldn't be happier about it.
Christian and others like him are changing the dialogue about disability and life BECAUSE they are different and because they are not like everyone else.
What's so great about being just like everyone else anyways? And what is so wrong with not being like everyone else? Who even gets to decide where the range of "normal" looks like?
I heard a line in an episode of Supernatural once (years ago, before kids, when I actually got to watch TV sometimes). Dean Winchester said "Most people live and die without ever moving more than the dirt it takes to bury them." That line shook me. I wanted to make sure that I was never one of those people. I also hope the same for my children.
The social norm is to be the same as everyone else, fit in, don't make waves, fall in line; and that is a great way to never make any meaningful change in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. That requires us to do something differently than everyone else! That requires us to BE different.
While society tells us to conform and be like everyone else, I think the real answer is to stand out, stand up, and be different!
Christian has no choice in some ways but to be different, and I hope to raise him to know that there isn't anything wrong with that! Chandler, too! I want my boys to embrace who they are and love themselves regardless of whether society thinks they are good enough or not. I don't want my kids applying societal standards to themselves, because when we do that, we will always come up short. I don't want my children feeling obligated to measure up to some standard made up by who knows that tells them that they have to be someone else because who they are isn't good enough.
We are "imperfect" people. We have cellulite, scars, frizzy hair, we are too thick, too thin, not tall enough, too tall, our nose is too big, our lips are too small. We will never look like Kim Kardashian, at least not without a lot plastic surgery. Here's a tip for you, Kim Kardashian wouldn't look like Kim Kardashian without lots of plastic surgery, either.
It's freeing to embrace who we are and love ourselves. It's freeing to know that we don't have to measure up to some random and arbitrary standard that...who created?!?! It's really meaningless to constantly try to measure up to that false standard anyways when you really think about it. It's a never ending tail chase. It sends us into a constant chase to attain that "perfection" that isn't really attainable to begin with. It's always changing so even when we reach one goal, we end up missing that moving target and have to move on to the next one just to rinse and repeat.
Embracing who we are doesn't mean that we don't see our faults and learn, grow, and change to become a better person. I think it means that we love ourselves where we are, don't beat ourselves up, show ourselves grace, and think we are worth investing the time and effort it takes to become a better person. I think it means that we don't try so hard to fit in, but that we appreciate the unique things about ourselves that make us different. I think it means embracing who we are and focusing on who we are created to be rather than who someone else tells us to be.
There is so much beauty to be seen in the world that doesn't fit inside a neat little box. Beauty isn't some certain, well defined, particular set of rules. Beauty can be found in the most imperfect of people, in the things that the world does not define as beautiful, and in the most unexpected places. All we have to do is look.
I know without a doubt that when I look at Christian and Chandler, I see beauty beyond what others might expect or understand. I don't want to be like the rest of the world. I don't want my kids to be like the rest of the world. That seems boring. Who wants to be average? Mediocre? I want my kids to reach for the stars. I want them to dream so big that who society says they should be can't hold them down.
I am raising world changers, not world conformers, and in that, I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their differences and the things that the world might consider as "strange" or "weird" or "wrong" are in fact, not strange, or weird, or wrong. Those attributes might be the exact tools they have been equippied with to help them change the world!
God Bless you for sharing your life with your children. My husband & I have 7 children,(4 sons together & we have 3 daughters who were my brother girls until he & his wife were killed escaping the North Tower in the WTC attacks on 9/11. They made it from the 70th floor to the 6th floor when the building collapsed) our youngest son was not even 3 weeks old when this happened & the girls were 7 weeks, 18 months & 34 months at the time. Since our 7 week old daughter had been breast fed & I was nursing our almost 3 week old I simply tandem nursed the two to keep things as normal as possible but it takes it out of you. It is amazing how God gives you the strength to make it through whatever Satan throws at you.ReplyDelete
Your little ones are so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful mom who looks at them through the eyes of Gods love rather than what the world tells us to think. Your son may not have his eyesight but he will discover a world which many people miss out on. The world of sound. I am a doctor with a practice in geriatric medicine from which I am retiring at the age of 56 due to the fact I am losing my vision to retinitis pigmentosa. It is a genetic condition and has effected so many people in my family. It hit my grandparents generation hard but there were only a few cases in my parents generation. In my generation it seems to have broken-out again and there are many, one of my brothers, 3 1st cousins, and more than a few who are 2nd and 3rd cousins. Now in my children's generation, I have one son with early signs of the disease and one of our daughters has just been diagnosed.
I was 23 when I was diagnosed and had just gone blind in my left eye. I still have some vision in my right but it is fading.
My grandmother gave me a book which is absolutely wonderful & I think your son would get a lot from reading it. He can also get enough yet to get books on tape from the Association for the Blind but they are awesome & have so much to offer, anything from lessons in braille & braille typing to offering magazines in braille as well as in audio form.) the book is called "If You Could See What I Hear" by Tom Sullivan & Derek Gill. He also wrote: Seeing Lessons: 14 Life Secrets I've Learned Along The Way. Here is the Amazon Link where you can find them: https://www.amazon.com/You-Could-See-What-Hear/dp/0060809612
I would love to buy a copy for you to read to your son or you could also see if they have them on talking book from the Library of Congress Books for the blind, here is a link to their services. It opens up a wonderful door and a world of books. My grandparents raised us when my parents separated & as I mentioned my grandmother was blind from retinitis pigmentosa. She was an AWESOME lady & many of my friends didn't even know she couldn't see. She knew where EVERYTHING was in the house and God help you if you didn't put something back where it belonged. Like my aunts (we all from Ireland and a little crazy) my grandmother could clip you with a shoe at 15 ft away if you were sassing her. I never figured-out how she always seemed to know if we had the audacity to flip-her-off (as teenagers) because she couldn't see. HOW DID SHE KNOW??? My brother and I never did figure it out but we benefited from being raised by parents who didn't fear harming our little 'psychies' with a spanking when needed! I wouldn't be who I am today if it hadn't been for her unconditional love and all the things she did for me to teach me what it is to be a good person, to love God with my whole heart & to put others before myself.
I have read your story to all of our children as an example of how Gods light shines in the lives of those who love and believe in him.
God Bless you in the name of our Living Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,
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