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OP-ED: Talking about parenting: Understanding that being different is a gift

Chris Kovatch

To say I have eclectic tastes would probably be an understatement. The interior of our home is pretty standard in terms of color, furniture, accessories, etc. You will find random pictures with snarky sayings on them scattered throughout the house. A sense of humor is important, right? The truth is – I really do not get to pick much of the décor out on the inside of our home.

Christi and I have reached a general understanding. The inside of the house is her domain, and the outside is my play area. I still sneak in random things around the inside of the house and hope she does not notice.

When you step outside of our house, you will normally see nice well-kept flower beds. (don’t look at them in winter…that’s when I take a break!) In my normally looking landscaping, you will quickly notice a wide array of interesting art. You will get to observe a brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurs Rex, Velociraptor, T-Rex skeleton, gnome, alien, Loch Ness Monster, bottle trees, and much more. As you head into the backyard you will be greeted by a tiki totem, regular totem pole, rooster, and a few other surprises. I am sure my neighbors just love my taste in art.

I wasn’t always like this. Growing up I had it in my head that being like everyone else was the important thing. I didn’t want to stand out in the ‘wrong’ ways. It was easier to fly under the radar than to be different. I think for the most part, this is what a lot of kids experience as they go through school. You want to be a part of the in-crowd. You want to be accepted. Weird or different isn’t generally welcomed.

As I have gotten older, I have become much more confident in me and much less worried about what others think of me. I know that I am a good person. I know that I am a productive citizen. I know that I am active in supporting my community. I also know that I like random art. I also know that I like tattoos and have quite a few. I also know that having six kids makes our family stand out.

But you know what?  I like me. I like being confident in being different. If someone judges me in a negative fashion by what they see rather than getting to know me, that is their loss. We raise our kids to know that being different is a gift not a curse. Our differences are what makes us who we are and we should not let those things get us down. I am fortunate that after 40 years on this Earth I get to be me. I want my kids to never have to wrestle with the concept of conformity. Being different and standing out in a positive manner is a good thing.

 

Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at news@orangeleader.com