To encourage and inspire those who feel that they live as an outlier in life which could mean several things one,. There are so many reasons one may put themselves in that category. I have lived the better part of my life thinking, creating, and living outside the box-meaning,I am continually coming up with new ideas or a different approaches to everyday living which sounds like a good and excellent thing except sometimes it is very lonely. There are labels for brains that work different and many times defined as -creative, intelligent and not realizing their potential, non-conformist, ADHD, ADD, those with processing disorders, memory deficits, dyslexic, right-brained thinkers, just plain different with no label- to mention a few. We do order things differently.
I have found that human nature fears, is uneasy around, or just plain annoyed with the unpredictable behavior. They become overwhelmed when there is change and variations in how one works, which I promote. There is structure but it is different than what they may use in their everyday lives. When one’s brain works in this way, it can be contrary to how the education system works which is consistent, systematic and regulated. School becomes very complicated for those with a different way of working and/or thinking to say the least. We throw a monkey wrench in the well ordered and standardized world of regulated education. We are intelligent and clever, but there are areas that we are not like the others in our group. When someone is tested for determining where they are in the group, a bell curve shape is used to show where average people land in the 50% center , outside of that area is not good and everything is done to get person back into the averaged group.The flexibility is not there. In the last 14 years, I have been professionally involved in the system it has made strides in it’s flexibility to allow for those who need a different approach to learning and show what they have learned.
The flexibility is needed for allowing varied approaches and responses but more importantly they need understand the learner to get to the heart of the issue of educating each person. Every year of the 14 years, along with my colleagues, teaching and those spent in the educational system, I have grappled with this dilemma. It is like they are blind. I am not voicing this to complain but to make it plain for the sake of clarifying the situation in which one who an outlier lives and is asked to perform within.
Why is school so important to this situation you ask? Well I am glad you asked that. A child is molded by their family greatly, but at the age of 5 or earlier if they are in preschool, they are defined, examined and compared to their peers and will remain until they are 18 years old. If you do the math- 6 to 10 hours a day during the school year which is usually 180 days with professionals who don’t seek to fully understand them as an individuals. They don’t make a goal of bringing out the best in them and nurturing them by minimizing the impact of their challenges. This does not include the hours of homework that sometimes take 2 to 4 hours to do at home, so school’s is still dictating their lives and defining them at home, worse case scenario is 14 hours a day, that is 1890 days is spent in an environment that most times makes you feel anxious, angry, sad, belittled, isolated, misunderstood, confused, sometimes good and sometimes you get a teacher that gets you then you feel hope. Then someone else comes into your life that steals that hope. That is a lot of responsibility on the school-teachers, support staff, administrators, to be responsive to individuals. They are only human with their own strengths and challenges, hum!
Looking beyond School, there are issues in everyday that become glitches when you are an out of the box thinker. I am coming from a place of grace where I have joined my life with Christ and the Kingdom of God and found peace. Even in this the church can be much like schools and not be readily accepting of those who think and live outside the box. Jesus did live outside the box as we read of His life and if you join your life with His, He completely understands and love you. God created you and He has a purpose for you and your strengths/challenges/gifts/talents. Above all this purpose is to be in relationship with Him as His child. In this relationship He leads and guides us by His Holy Spirit on this path to fill our lives with Love, Hope, Grace, Acceptance.
And in life in general, be it school, job, family, friends, and general life task completion things get complicated because of our training. Most of life is still set up in a structure like school. It reaches and touches every part of your life- body, soul, and spirit. So it is good to address which of these areas to find hope of realizing purpose and joy in this life because we can not live as an island. We need to live as part of a whole functioning unit of humanity. As an outlier that was a hard concept for me growing up because I really didn’t feel a part of it. I was recognized for my strengths in Art, creative writing and research, but no one was able to attach those strengths to an operating/functioning community. I was on my own, an outlier. I came upon a rock one day with a plant growing out of it and that is exactly how I felt.
I need to set up a parallel situation that will offer the hope needed by individuals like myself because I don’t feel alone anymore. I feel productive and included in my family, job, community where I use my strengths and on the most part they are understanding or unaware of my personal challenges as an outlier. How it is that so? This will include a very special relationship that I have had as long as I can remember. At first it was an acquaintance and I really didn’t know Him very well or what He had to offer because it was a very superficial relationship based on what I knew by the way of hearsay rather from the source. But once I decided to get to know Him better, I found He is meets my needs and He is very trustworthy. He includes me in everything and understands me perfectly including how to help me with my everyday tasks with people who do not understand me. I feel loved, understood, hopeful, happy, clear on what is expected of me, that my strengths are highlighted and used to help others and myself, I have a mentor, counselor, best friend, protector, 24/7 and His name is Jesus, my rock.
And the good news is that real life is not based on others opinion of me, but Jeremiah 29:11-13 (AMP)
11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.
13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.