A common conversation between Christian and I goes something like this:
Me: “Come here, and put this on. You will look so cute.”
Him: “But I don’t want to look cute.”
Me: “Christian, just come here. I want you and your brother to match.”
Him: “But I wanna be differrrreennnnttt!!!!” (Said in a super dramatic and whiney voice.)
Here’s an example of C dressing himself. Bad pic, but you get the idea.
Contrast that with me.
A few weeks ago I went to a Halloween party dressed as Mary Poppins. Before going, I knew I was not going to fit in because the cool thing at parties is not to wear a costume kids like but to figure out a way to wear as little as you can and call it a costume. (No offense to any costumes out there.) Anyway, as I was leaving my house before the party I was telling myself that I could care less what others were wearing because I’m a mom not a college girl. I’m a therapist and differentiated, and I don’t care about being cool…you get the idea.
And I really felt that way and meant it…until I stepped into the party and it quickly became obvious to me that the only skin I had showing was my face. I then realized I could not be in a more conservative outfit. And for some reason, I no longer wanted to be the girl my children thought was so cool. Instead, I suddenly felt the need to shed a few layers of clothing in order to figure out some way to show a little more skin.
Seriously. Did you get that?
I, in my 29-year-old maturity, was trying to figure out how to convert Mary Poppins into ‘Hi, I’m Mary and I’m Poppins outta my shirt.”
I might as well have been yelling out, “But I wanna be the sammmmeee!”
Anyway, after we left I kept laughing at how strong my desire to conform became when I was in an environment where I was different from most everyone else. It made me realize I have a little (alright A LOT) more growth in the not caring what others think department.
So the next day, I thought it was terribly ironic to evaluate what I’m really telling my son in our normal banter with one another over his clothing.
Because when he says: “No, Mommy, I want to be different.”
He is really saying, “I don’t want to conform to others’ expectations for me. I don’t care what the world thinks.”
And when I say: “No, honey. Everyone will think you are so cute.”
I’m really saying, “Conform, little 4-year-old, conform. You need to care what others think about you. Trust me on this because one day you’ll see how wise I am.”
Oh, wait. Or is that the other way around?
“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2