I came across this little meme on Facebook during the week – and though I can appreciate its sentiment once I started to really think about it I had to re-evaluate.  Can you see the out of the box child here?

Be the girl on the right meme.

Be the Girl on the Right – Really? Do you really agree with this?

How can we click ‘like’ and chuckle over this when we know when we see our ‘out of the box child’ doing this very thing we would correct, encourage and guide them to pay attention and be diligent with their practice?  It is cute until it is our child!  LOL

How do we raise children who are out of the box: how do we help them be true to themselves, and yet be courteous and respectful, and any other number of values we would like our children to live by?

I have an outside the box child – she notices things others don’t, she likes things that others don’t, she is creative, energetic, distractible, she is funny, she’s brave, but she’s also vulnerable, sensitive, and caring.  She is this little girl you see in the ballet class.  She’s the one distracted, fidgeting, and full of energy and life.  But she has so much talent.

[Tweet “Your child’s uniqueness needs to be strengthened not fixed.”]

There are three keys for creating a learning environment for my little girl – and for any child really, because they all have their quirks and they all have their talent:

  • Parent with understanding – this means that we understand where our child is at; we know their strengths and weaknesses, and we work with both.
  • Have virtues as your goal – our parenting goal is to have our children make choices based on morals/virtues. This means every learning opportunity we have with our kids needs to include moral/character/values aspect.
  • Be realistic – this means that we don’t put our children in situations that are beyond their ability, their moral ability, to choose to do the right thing.

For all the parents who clicked “be the girl on the right” – can I challenge you to think this through:  if you have a little person and they are being that little girl on the right – think about why they are in that class.  What are the things that your little person really needs, at this stage in their life, to live life?  Do they really need to be in this class?  Do they really need freedom to daydream, play and explore?

For all the parents who have a little girl in ballet, because it is the desire of her heart – or any other child, in any number of other scenarios – if this is a good thing for them to be doing, teach them self control, teach them to listen to instructions, and to do their best.  Teach them that there will be other times in their day that they can daydream, play and have adventures.

Its all very well to ‘like’ the individual-ness of a child in a meme, but we have to be consistent with these things in our own family.  Think about your child – think about their uniqueness and how can you best help them to grow.  There is more than one answer to this – and maybe, just maybe, you as the parent will have to step outside the box to do the best by your child.

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