I have a set of those magnetic word fridge magnets in my kitchen. The ones where each magnet is a word which can be combined to form sentences or thoughts or anything else that takes the author’s fancy. I thought having a set would promote creativity in my sons and communication within our family to assist with inventory control – there is much to take from a one word sentence: “milk”. Plus, I was just plain curious what my children would do with them.
The magnets have been used to comment on the garden, the weather, my sons’ self proclaimed awesomeness (well, they are teenagers) and my wisdom or rather lack thereof (well once again, they are teenagers). The other week, I woke up to find the following stuck on my fridge:
My initial reaction was laughter. My thoughts then drifted to the message being more of the same said self-proclaimed awesomeness variety and I found myself asking exactly to what apparatus was this referring? As far as I knew, my sons had not had a working chemistry set for at least five years. The thought then crossed my mind that in fact it could be my husband’s message. Well, I have to confess I have had more romantic overtures but for an attention grabber this scores about an 8.5.
I then paused and concluded that this was my younger son’s work, he of the quirky nature. I say this with a great deal of motherly love and affection for I love this quirkiness in him. Whilst this was on my fridge, to me it was totally off the wall. This type of humour for an almost 13 year old? I’m not one to brag incessantly about my children. In fact, I survived mothers’ groups with my infants without once proclaiming they understood the theory of relativity at the age of 4 months. Oh, the pressure!
But, it has made me realise I am drawn to quirkiness and that parenting a quirky child is not without difficulties. The school system generally does not rate quirkiness highly, relying on pushing students through a mass transit system. A lot of teachers don’t value and just don’t know how to deal with difference. In the jungle of the schoolyard, there is a tendency for quirky kids to be ridiculed and abandoned. Tweeny boys look for and bond over similarities. It has been that way since the cavemen starting comparing their clubs.
My desire is that my quirky one enjoys his high school years and looks back on them as a positive experience. But I am conflicted, I don’t want him to lose his quirkiness, his uniqueness. I have this sense that as an adult his quirkiness will hold him in good stead and that it will make him stand out in the competitive crowd in positive ways. In my adult world political correctness, conservatism and uniformity abound. But ironically, it tends to be the few who are truly innovative which leave a mark on that world. And how does the innovative adult’s journey usually begin? As a quirky child.
So, on this Q day I celebrate quirkiness. May my son’s apparatus continue to rock the storm throughout his life.