You know what I want for my kids? I want them to not give a shit about what people think (of them). I also want them to give a shit about how people feel. I just don't always know how to install these themes into them.
There is a herd mentality to raising kids. I am not saying I'm completely unaffected by it, I am affected. But, I don't (typically) cooperate with the herd but I'm always Always ALWAYS conscious of the pull.
Example: School Picture Day
This week, my 4 and 1 year old's daycare had school picture day. First off, it's crappy photographers with crappy backgrounds. They know they'll make big money on these kids so they ask to come. The teachers arrange the children and coax smiles and pictures are snapped. Picture day is coming, the flyers announce! In my head I make a mental note, "get nice clothes out." Day of picture day, 4 year old WANTS to wear his favorite Buzz Lightyear and Woody shirt. Total favorite shirt in every single way. I spend about 30 seconds listening to the "pull" of cultural norms, "it's picture day, shouldn't he wear something nice?" Then, I have the duh moment. No, he shouldn't wear something "nice" he should wear something special. And this Buzz and Woody shirt is very special to him. That, I want to capture in a photograph. So, off we go to school. When we arrive at school it is immediately and abundantly clear that TODAY is Picture Day! Every little girl I encounter has on a dress, a bow in their hair, pantyhose, sparkly shoes, curled locks. Every little boy I encounter has on a cute little button up shirt, with a vest, sunday shoes. And then, there's my kids. 4 year old with a buzz lightyear shirt and a pair of baggy sweats and the still stuck on temporary tattoo from 2 weeks ago, 1 year old with a frog onesie. And I think they look absolutely adorable. And I could not be more proud.
I know I'm counter-culture in many ways. I only hope my kids will understand, will be okay with it to. How powerful are the cultural themes, how strong is their pull, will my kids bend to them, shouldn't they anyway for a while, how will I know what to do?