One of my favorite things about her is the way she puts on socks. Ever since she started dressing herself, she’s always matched her socks…just not with each other.
She generally matched each sock to some color in her outfit. It’s a wonderful sign of her creativity that we never saw fit to “correct.”
Well this morning, she matched her socks. To each other. She hasn’t done that in years. It was as though part of her had died.
With a sense of foreboding, I asked her why. She said she matched them because “Those people at the hop-spit-al laughed at me. I don’t like people laughing at me.”
You see, yesterday, while she visited me at work, many of you called attention to her “mix-matched” socks and laughed. You never bothered to learn that the white sock matched her white shirt; the pink one the pink flowers on her shirt. [The picture to the left was taken a couple weeks ago. She wasn’t wearing that orange shirt yesterday.]
I tried explaining to her that your laughing was simply enjoying her, not making fun of her. But she doesn’t undertand that. So many of you commented on her socks and laughed, she thought all of you were laughing at her. When she explained her “missed-matched” socks, you laughed even more.
I understand your mirth. She’s really cute. She has a great vocabulary for a three year-old. And she has a knack of making people feel happy. But she didn’t understand your laughing. She just knows you laughed because her socks weren’t normal.
I hope she’ll get over it and do her own thing again. I hope the damage isn’t permanent. And I hope this will be a learning experience, teaching her to not worry about others think. To be herself. To march to the beat of her own drummer.
I hope this will teach her to be a leader, not a conformer.
That’s up to her…and us.
As for you, please think twice the next time you laugh at someone or something you don’t understand. Just because you’ve been doing something the same way for 50 years, and everyone else you know has been doing it the same way, doesn’t mean it’s the “right” way. “Different” isn’t necessarily wrong and certainly doesn’t need to be mocked.
Please remember this.
One Sad Father