My boys and I are working on their people skills. I watched this video today and I loved it but it got me thinking about a few things I would say to my kids about this topic.
Be different. Be okay with not fitting in. I am an introvert in an extroverted world. I hate pretending things are funny when they aren’t that funny to me. I hate pretending things aren’t as funny as I think they really are, too. Sometimes I just get the giggles. I’m super interested in all sorts of things that other people easily lose interest in. I hate small talk but “Hi, I’m Emily, tell me about your philosophy on life” is not a socially acceptable thing to say to someone you’re meeting for the first time. I often feel unique in this world. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes that’s a bad thing.
But let me give you a little tip I have learned through the years. You don’t have to be like everyone else to fit in. You can be the odd man out and think differently than anyone in the room, but you’ll fit right in if you love others well.
It’s okay to say, “You have an interesting point, but I disagree with you and here’s why…” But listen well and be okay if you are wrong or if they don’t change their opinion.
Think about others, not just yourself. So you are creating an awesome parkour course in Minecraft with 17 varying levels of difficulty. Not everyone is as interested in the amazing things that you are. Ask good questions and find out what they are interested in, too. Asking good questions is great way to show someone you care about them.
When I was growing up, the most popular kids in school weren’t the coolest kids on the block. They were the nicest kids on the block. They could fit in with the cool kids and the smart kids, the goth and the band geeks because they were just plain friendly people. They didn’t dress like the goth kids. They didn’t play instruments or even necessarily care about music but they were kind. They smiled at everyone in the hall and made a point to make others feel welcomed and important, sometimes just by saying “hello.”
I want you to be different from everyone you know! I want you to stand against the crowd for what you believe in. I want you to be proud of your God-given gifts and interests. I love you just the way you are. You are special and unique and that’s the way it should be. But you know what? So is everyone else. Love them all well.