This question came up at a team breakfast for work on Monday, and it’s been resonating with me ever since. The question was “Who do you admire, and why?” I was at the far end of the room, so got to hear lots of interesting answers – everything from parents, to political figures to business people. Steve Jobs, Einstein, Mandela. Big names. I was thinking of some amazing educators in our district, and I did mention them. But in the end I went with my gut and simply said “My son”.
The truth is, spirited children are amazing in all their frustrating glory. And the specific thing I admire is that he is who he is with anyone. There is no false face, no fake it for the company, no be cool around the kids. He is exactly the same for everyone. While we are teaching him the nuances of control (being a little more polite in a more adult setting, for example) the truth is it’s an amazing trait. No be sweet to your face and snipe behind your back. No smile when you’re sad. No malicious, snide anger. Everything is front and centre and here you go. What you see is what you get. And better than that is his ability to honestly not care what others think about this. If the cool kids don’t like that he shows his joy, too bad for them. If an adult doesn’t like that he shows his anger, too bad. “I’m not going to change for anyone,” he has said on more than one occasion.
As I said, we are teaching him control in the sense of being mad without being hurtful, or being happy without being disruptive. It’s pretty complicated, all these social rules, if you’re someone who doesn’t see a point to them.
So, who do you admire, and why?
I realized later that in this trait he is a more intense (there’s that spiritedness) version of his dad, who also is someone who rarely puts on a social face, as I call it. I’d also like to point out that I told Bushboy that I was going to post this, and he was ok with it.