No matter what a child is told, some dreams that will be beyond their reach. No matter how big they grow.
“Liar!” You scream at me through the paper, as if I can hear you through an inanimate object. Wait. A phone is an inanimate object and I can hear you through that, so ... where was I? Oh, yes. Your screams.
“If you can see it, you can be it,” you might say. “If you believe it, you can achieve it. Don’t try to fill our heads with your negative negativity,” you admonish.
Settle back, Delicate Flower, and prepare yourself for some hard truths. In the interest of fairness, I will use myself as an example.
I will never be a hand model. Sitting in homeroom at Mason County High School, I would hold hands with my first serious girlfriend. Instead of focusing on her lovely eyes, her luxurious hair and, most importantly, her radiant personality, all I could think as I looked down at the desk was, “my hands look horrible intertwined in hers.”
And it was true. My paws have the texture of a convenience store hot dog that is been in the rotisserie for several hours. If you rehydrated the Crypt Keeper‘s fingers, they would be more appealing in a hand lotion commercial than mine.
Which is why the whole “self-identification” fad baffles me. As much as I might want to self-identify as a 7’11” NBA center, I doubt I will receive a call from the Timberwolves any time soon.
Men are identifying as women and vice versa. Various ethnicities are embracing their inner whiteness or blackness.
Which, as far as I can see, harms no one.
That is, until you force it upon kids. Trying to tell a being who is not emotionally or intellectually developed that they are anything other than who they actually are is, in my opinion, unethical. It should be criminal. It’s bad enough when parents try to relive their faded school glories through their children by way of sports or pageantry. But attempting to shoehorn them into some stylized ideal of roles, gender or otherwise, is child abuse.
Harvard Brain Imaging Center neuroscientist Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, in Psychology Today, says the frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for high level reasoning and decision making aren’t fully mature until the early 20s. Which means choices as weighty as identity should not be set in stone with youth who are, well, young.
After all, don’t young people have their entire lives to explore who or what they want to be? What’s the rush?
Sermon over. Please turn your hymnal to page 106. Seriously, though. Why can’t we all identify as humans and revel in our differences, share our vast experiences, and stop trying to be something or someone we are not?
Personally, I am a mutt. A mixture of cultures that decided to make this country their home. My family is of Scotch-Irish stock. I’ve never been to the homeland of my ancestors. I hear it is beautiful. But I am an American, born and raised, regardless of my genealogical pedigree.
As any pet owner knows, mongrels are the best. The pooch represents a mix of any number of breeds, making them stronger and healthier than a lot of their AKC registered counterparts.
If someone feels better about themselves imagining a life that isn’t based on their biology, ethnicity or eccentricity, that’s fine. It’s another facet of America that makes us the greatest country on Earth. Just leave the kids out of it. As for me? I’ll stick with the mutts.