Another big subject! Now that I’ve chosen this as a topic, I’m not quite sure what it means. I looked for a quote that I believe is by the writer Ken Kesey (but I can’t find it!). Anyway, the idea is that being yourself is a lot easier than trying to be like everybody else. I’m not sure if this is true. But I am a big believer in being authentic. Having this belief certainly makes my work with children easier.
There is such a huge range of “normal.” I’m thinking about a child in my first playgroup, in 1984. He had been born with a hand deformity and, because he was two years old, seemed unaware of this fact. His fingers curved inward, similar to someone with long term arthritis. But I do remember one time when he asked me about his hands. He must have noticed they were different from the other kids’ hands in the group. It’s hard to remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of reminding him that he could do everything that the other kids did with their hands. He seemed so pleased with this and I don’t remember him mentioning them at any other time during that year. He clearly had wonderful parents.
I guess what I’m considering here is more how parents feel about their children if they aren’t moving along in ways that are typical. The stakes seem so high. Being vigilant is a great thing, I’ve always believed that the “best parents” question themselves as their children develop. But checking in with a more experienced person can be so helpful – maybe a therapist, your own parents, or perhaps, someone like me! It is critical that we don’t stay isolated while we are raising our children.