• Zach

Versatility: Becoming Someone Vs. Something

Today my 4-year old was a Ghostbuster. Yesterday, he was an architect. The day before that, he was leading an ocean cleanup around the yard on his vessel (a Strider bike towing a sled). What are we? Try for one second to imagine a world where you could be anything you wanted to be. Is it difficult?

The reason we struggle with making decisions is often because we either: A) have too many options to choose from, i.e.- Netflix programs, take-out meals, health practitioners; or B) have too few options, i.e.- job opportunities, housing, Donkey or Elephant…health practitioners. It’s all relevant to our personal set of circumstances and the sub-system we have created for ourselves.

This personalized system, however, is often clouded by a preceding set of circumstances; that is, we fall in line. Chicken or fish, red or blue, whatever happened to the “jack of all trades” mentality? Where is the “Renaissance” in all of us? These questions undoubtedly warrant a certain degree of explanation and that is a deep ocean of complexity, doubt, and confusion. Our goal is simply to re-write the script.

When we think of collective consciousness we generally associate with it ideas of solidarity and community, a oneness so to speak. From a sociological perspective, this is the ultimate goal. In order for this to be achieved, however, it is necessary for us as humans to cultivate a sense of complete presence on an individual level. Simply put, we need to possess an understanding and awareness of ourselves, before we can identify and connect with others.

Throughout our earliest years of life we rely on our parents, siblings and peers to help us understand who we are and who we may become. As we grow, we are influenced by a multitude of external forces that seem to increase throughout the maturation process. By the time we reach adulthood, the hope is that we have developed the skills and mindfulness to contribute to the greater good, despite the influx of toxic information that has permeated our absorbent minds and influenced our subsequent behaviors.

A friend of ours recently commented about our alternative educational process, stating: “to hell with Lumosity!” and I’ll be honest, I had to look that up. As a family, nothing is as foreign to us as learning online and nothing is as stifling to a person’s development as a device or screen. But we press and we push to make things happen through this technological paradigm, shelving our children’s personalities onto pictorial accounts and digital stories.

At a certain point comes the question of which direction? East? West? State? Private? And from that point forward, each decision we are faced with seems to be exponentially more critical than the last; but it is not the results that we should be so concerned with, as much as the intent. Why have we scripted these decisions, who is benefitting from them and how does this impact our community and our environment? This is a lesson that should begin in the earliest stages of a child’s development, for positive intentions are designed to yield positive results, regardless of one’s age.

Like a parasite though, tradition depends on our “buying in” to survive. The more we buy into it, the less we have for ourselves and the harder it becomes to pull away from it. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a silly, hackneyed, and quite frankly insulting question to ask any child. Not only are we singularizing their existence, we’re simultaneously dashing their hopes of being any and everything they can be; and we’re further providing them with a set of established options that fail to stoke their curiosity, or their inspiration. “Growing up” is for suckers.

The problems that our societal collective is facing right now are vast, deep and worsening. Where there should be unification there is division; where there should be love, there is hate. But this negative energy is one fueled by years of neglect to our own individual systems. Our ability to make rational decisions now seems to stem more and more from headlines, rather than our own gut. And our guts are being fueled by ingredients that are likely more damaging to our physical health than media exposure is to our overall mental and emotional wellness.

Our 4-year old plays the drums, he imagines, he sings, he explores, he draws, he dances, he sees and he writes; and our 2-year old is right there with him. Let us not be dismissive of these, all of our children’s creative tendencies. It is our duty, not only to embrace their curiosity and imagination, but to build upon it.

We can be whatever the hell we want to be. The external pressure is simply an illusion, brought on by the realities of our scope. Change the lens, many times. Have the balls and the freedom to learn a new trade…and then another. Let us acquire new skills, assume different roles and become some one rather than some thing.

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