Friday, July 20, 2012

Won’t be boxed.

Humans like to put things in boxes. Nice, neat and tidy boxes- categorized, classified, organized. We do it to stuff. We do it to people. You might know the classic song ‘Little boxes’ by Malvina Reynolds.The band 'Walk off the Earth' has recently covered it. It goes like this:
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same…
And the people in the houses
All went to the university
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same
And there's doctors and lawyers
And business executives
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same……..

There’s looking ‘just the same’ and then there’s fixing people for life in those boxes so that they feel suffocated by other people’s impressions and expectations of who they are.

The other day, my youngest complained about ‘being boxed’ by well intentioned family and friends.
“You’re the soccer kid; the girl with the ball,” they’ll say.
“I am more than that,” she protests. “I can do more than that. Just because I love soccer does not mean I don’t want to do anything else.”

My daughter tells me how confusing it can become because getting annoyed at said people, she wants to stop doing what she loves just to show them she likes other things too. But that would be a betrayal of  her passion and she will only end up hurting herself.

"It’s like people act surprised if you express an interest in something other than what they know about you," she complains.
It's possible that kids may become wary of pursuing something new to them because that’s “so and so's” thing. 
"Sometimes, friends feel challenged-and even threatened- if you develop an interest for something they deem is on their turf," my daughter continues.

Boxing people also means that we perceive them in a certain way and we will continue doing so even though they’ve long since changed or are trying to change. Families do this especially. As a child you might have been shy. As a grownup, you’re not any more. But family still thinks of you as shy.

As parents, I think it is worth checking in on your child every now and then to see where they are at.
Be mindful of the changes that are going on so that you can help him expand the boundaries that have been set about him.

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