• A is for Agape

On The Outside

I do not want my children to be normal. It’s true. And if you were to ask me about it I would defend my position vehemently and without compunction. I came to this decision the day before they were born.

In fear and terror, knowing that my life was changing forever, I decided that the child exiting my womb was to be protected at all cost. And part of protecting them is teaching them to stand tall, backs straight, against the world.

When talking to a friend one day about the fact that I don’t want to send my children to school until they are at least seven, she said, “but then they won’t learn how to interact normally.”

She was speaking to me as though, first of all, keeping my children home one or two extra years would prevent their natural development. Secondly, that I as a parent was not capable of guiding them properly (it says more about her ideas of me, maybe). And thirdly, as if normal were something to which I aspire.

Absolutely not, my children will be abnormal. Abnormal in that they will learn to show respect and expect respect. Abnormal in their yearning for knowledge. Abnormal in their treatment of each other and their peers. Yes, they will be abnormal, and I will fight for this.

You see, increasingly, I notice that the values of their peer group are not in line with my values. I want them to know that it’s okay to be outside the group. I want them to think for themselves and avoid peer pressure at all costs. And the cost will be high sometimes, they need to know that too.

So my decision to keep them home for a couple extra years stems from the fact that I want a couple more years of my and their father’s influence on them. I want to avoid their peer group’s interference for just a little longer. Hold on to their naiveté and tenderness for as long as I can.

And when do I think they will be ready to leave my cocoon. Only when their voice is strong enough to say, ‘no, I will do things my way.’ To be honest with you, I know I will never be ready to let go of them. But I know that someday soon, they will look in my eyes and ask the tough questions, about life, friendship, the world, and they will at least be able to take a couple steps outside my boundary.

If I sound too overprotective, it’s because I am. Not of their will, that is theirs alone, and not of their mind, they will be individuals, what I am guarding is their right to say, “it’s my choice.”

The way they choose to live life is their choice alone, I just want them to know that. Absolutely, no one else has a right to their uniqueness, their oneness. And I will champion this cause for them just a little longer.

The funny part, it’s hard for me to explain this decision to my friends because in a way I am saying that my way is better than everyone else’s. That makes me an outsider too. Good thing I had parents that taught me how to use my voice.

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