The trend continues: the hat stays. And I am inspired!

November 17, 2008

in no manual for parenting

And it is not just a hat, nor is it a cowboy hat. It is a FEDORA.

My 5 yo got a wool fedora for his upcoming 6th birthday. He has been wearing that hat ever since. People would comment on how cute he is, esp. when he tips his hat slightly, and say, “How’d you do, Ma’am?”

This disturbs my 10-year-old who at this young age, unfortunately, has known first hand how ruthless schoolyard (or rather, bus stop) teasing can be. He has also learned that you really do not want to stand out, “blending in” is the smartest thing to do. (At 10?? What happened to my ham?? And I thought conformity is looked down in the USA! Seriously, the American culture and mentality sometimes is a mythical paradox to me…) So he tried to tell his younger brother that people might think he’s different and would make fun of him for it.

Here comes my diatribe of the day:

Ok, let me ask again: When does being different become a negative in this great country of ours?

(Ok, never mind. This is a rhetoric question… more or less).

But what happened to creativity and imagination? So it is ok if it happens in the movies, on paper, on the stage, in the office (i.e. “Think outside the box”), but not encouraged in the suburbs?

Standard response from my youngest? “I don’t care!” and “I think I look very handsome in this!”

Bravo to him for being so gutsy! Mama is very proud for his courage to be different.

But at the same time, I cannot help but wonder how long this unbridled unabashedness will last. They all grow up so fast, and part of growing up seems to mean losing part of yourself as you get older… Should I feel guilty also for letting him be himself? For indulging him even since I was the one who bought the fedora, naturally. And I am sure my kids could sense since a young age how abhorrent I am of “mediocrity”.

I actually told my kids that the greatest wisdom I hope to ever teach them is “Be thyself.”

I must be nuts…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: