Saturday, October 30, 2010

How different are we?

Normalcy is not something I strive for. I don't worry if I'm doing what everyone else is doing. I'm not a band wagon kind of person. I don't measure myself worth against what others have or how they act. But I am fascinated by the world at large and I am always interested in how other people live. After volunteering at the schools and getting to know some of the other students, I find myself wondering if we're a "normal" family. I distinctly remember standing at the playground at my daughters school and having a classmate ask me if my kids had spent the weekend at their dad's. I guess that's normal for him and he assumed that all kids have parents who live in separate homes. This amazes me because my children still can't quite grasp the fact that their "Papa Tom" isn't my real dad. Children naturally try to rationalize and automatically assume that everyone lives the same life.
I am the first to admit that our kids are pretty sheltered. We don't let them too far out of sight. They can't go into someone's home until we've met the parents. My kids don't know what's on prime time television. We tend to watch the kid channels or some science show. The most extreme thing they watch is Destination Truth on Syfy. They only play age appropriate video/computer games. There are no adult movies, no violent games, no facebook, no chatting on the internet, no email. They can't sing the current songs, because we rarely listen to the 'hip' channels. My kids don't know what Abercrombie, American Eagle, or Gap are. None of the children have phones and although we have Ipods, there is only one and they have to share it. Their idea of "bad words" are stupid, butt, and idiot.
We amaze the kids in the 'hood because we eat dinner together, every night. All around the same table, at the same time, and we talk. We talk about silly and we talk about sad. We discuss our days and our wishes. We all get to ask a question and we all discuss the answer. I watched a parenting show that said how important it was to take time to have weekly meals together. I find this odd because I have weekly meals with MY mom, not my children. My children eat with me every day.
So I have to wonder - are we the normal family of today? or are we the odd folks on the block. Is it strange for my kids to have a parent home when they get out of school? Is it weird that they don't get the latest catch phrase? Am I isolating my kids by making them different from their peers? Well there is nothing wrong with being different and I've been told more than once that I have excellent kids so I'm not going to change any time soon.