Saturday, July 7, 2012

No, Everybody Else Is NOT Doing It!

When I was a kid, I loved to complain about anything and everything.  My poor mother had to sit through hours of my rantings and ravings about people, places, and things that I didn't care for, and it was non-stop.  Usually, when I was complaining about something that I would like but couldn't have, or had to do but didn't want to, I'd say that "all the other kids" got whatever it is I wanted, or didn't have to do whatever task I was told to perform.  Of course, I didn't mean every other young person on the planet; that was just a shorter way of saying all of the people I knew who were roughly coeval to me: classmates, kids in my neighborhood, fellow Sunday school students, and the like.  Still, when I really stopped and thought about it, I realized that, in reality, "all the other kids" weren't getting the things I wanted but couldn't have, and had to do the tasks I didn't enjoy.
What's my point? Simply this: Even at my current age, people like to tell me what "everyone else" or "all the other young adults" are doing, and wonder why I'm not joining in.  My response is the old parenting adage: So, if "everyone else" and/or "all the other young adults" are jumping off a bridge, should I do it, too? If there's one thing I've learned about myself, it's that what works for "everybody else" usually doesn't do anything for me.
Besides which, when you actually stop and think about it, "everyone else" isn't doing what those individuals are saying they are.  I used to feel the same way about relationships: why was "everyone else" off getting engaged and/or married, when Anne Hathaway was the closest thing I'd ever had to a significant other? However, when I really stopped and thought about it, I realized that many coeval people were not in any sort of relationship, or had gotten into one(s) that they wished they never had.  Plus, Matthew 19:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 7:8 both say that romance is not for everyone.  The same is true of other things that "everybody else" is reportedly doing: when you actually think about it, you'll realize that quite a large chunk of the population isn't doing whatever.
In conclusion, let me say this: Over a decade ago, my mom had a daycare in our house, and one of the kids' favorite videos to watch was Lamb Chop's Sing-Along Play-Along.  Though I was well beyond the "target age" for it, there were some moments in it I found hilarious, but the kiddies just didn't seem to get the jokes.  Anyway, in one scene, Shari Lewis (Lamb Chop's friend, remember?) tells them to sing a song, and Lamb Chop begins singing "Jingle Bells".  The piano stops four words into it, and Ms. Lewis says, "Lamb Chop, you only sing 'Jingle Bells' at Christmas!" That puppet of a sheep replied, "Says who?", which makes her relent and allow him and the other animals to sing that Christmas carol.
My point? When people want to tell me what I "should" be doing, or that I "shouldn't" be doing whatever it is I am, they often don't have a very good reason as to why.  I've heard some ridiculous excuses for dumb "regulations" over the years:
  • When I was about seven, I was told by a "babysitter" (notice the quotes?) that I couldn't watch Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers because, and this is a direct quote, "That show makes you do weird things like wear your pants backwards!" (Since when did any of those villain-fighting teenagers wear anything backwards?)
  • My sixth grade math teacher refused to allow me to do a graph on a computer, saying, "I don't want you to just push a button and have it made for you!" (Did she even know how to use a spreadsheet program?)
  • Once, when I was explaining to someone why I am unable to drive, I told him/her that I had even lost concentration during video games, and that, though no one got hurt when that happened, it could if I did so behind the wheel of a car.  That individual replied, "But there's a lot of electricity involved in video games!" (When was the last time someone got electrocuted by just sitting there, playing a video game?)
So, before you tell anyone that they're wrong, think about why you feel that they are; maybe you'll realize that you're just falling prey to society's standards.  I've seen it happen quite a few times over the years, and it never gets any easier to deal with such people.
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