“Courage is the Power to Let Go of the Familiar” Raymond Lindquist.
It takes courage to find yourself among the many people you associate with every day. I remember growing up and for a few years I wanted to be just like “those girls” but as I continued to grow up I realized I didn’t want to be like them. They did not express in their everyday actions the values I felt I wanted to have.
As I was growing up we were not rich or poor, but somewhere in the middle. My dad was in a business that fluctuated our income based on the economy. Some years we had plenty, some years we REALLY struggled. My oldest sister remembers a much less affluent family then I, as the youngest, remember. But all of us siblings remember a specific brand of Levi’s, which was incredibly expensive. Girbaud “Girbo” Jeans – remember those. There were 4 of us girls in the house and buying them for each of us was out of the question. We were all ridiculed and teased for not having this amazingly special pair of pants. My mom noticed that we might want them and saved for 2 years to buy them for us. I think she wanted us to feel like we can be part of the crowd. As we went school shopping one year my mom announced so gleefully that she had saved enough money to buy us each a pair. We all looked at her and said, “thanks, but we don’t want them.” I remember this moment so clearly, it defined me. I learned from this experience that we don’t all need to be just like the the other girls, we are important and worth so much more on the inside. Our clothing brands don’t make us special. What makes us special is how we treat others, and how we react when treated negatively by others. I didn’t want to be part of “that crowd” the crowd that only saw people for the clothing they wore and what they saw on the outside, not the inside.
It takes courage to let go of the familiar and be your own person. Allow yourself to take courage and be defined by your own personal values, not what others want or think you should be. If I had wanted so badly to be in the normal, popular crowd, I would not have been able to find who I am and what values are important to me.
Now that I have preteens, I don’t want them to be defined by the brand of clothing or the style that is ultra important. I do take great effort to buy them cute styles and things they want, but I don’t want to cross that line of them needing the most in popular style to feel good about themselves. The other day one of my girls came home and said, “(name inserted) came to school with a $120 pair of shoes. That really is fairly normal for a pair of brand name shoes. My girls commented on how I buy them things on sale and with a coupon, especially clothes. After my daughter came home and told us about the $120 shoes we had a talk about how we can better use our resources and how we need to spread our money around 4 kids, not just 1 or 2. We also talked about moving money around, if we moved the money around and didn’t dance, play an instrument, if we wanted lots of debt for many of these things, or if I worked full-time we could buy her a $120 pair of shoes too. We asked them if that is what they want. I was grateful they said “NO!” We often have talks about “those girls” who push the boundaries of school modesty rules just to look cool, and how their attitude is more defining of them then the clothes they wear. I am glad we can have these conversations. And I am sure things would be different if this particular childhood defining moment had not happened. “Take courage and be strong,” I love that line of the new live action Cinderella. It takes courage to not be “normal” to be different and hold strong to your values and become amazing, even if you are just figuring out what those values are.