All children are born with an innate sensitivity and awareness that is often lost as we age. Their connection to Source energy becomes silenced through societal “norms” and programming. Simply put, we (as a society) teach our children that it’s not “normal” to be sensitive or intuitive, so they stop listening to those signals in their body and start wanting to be like everyone else. All because we teach them that being like everyone else is the only way to be accepted.
It is not our fault. We have not known better, since we too were taught our gifts or sensitivities were not “okay.”
For example, as a child, I was very sensitive to my environment and the surrounding energies, and that showed up in many different ways. Perhaps I was seen as “needy” or “shy”, since I only felt safe around my mother (who also has many spiritual gifts). Or my teachers may have seen me only as unable to focus, or sit still. When in reality, I was just unable to learn the way we were being forced to learn. I did not excel at sitting still or following the same rules as everyone else, because — surprise— I was not “wired” like everyone else. I spent many hours in the principals office for shouting things out, being disruptive to others, or not listening to my teacher. And honestly, I was just showing up as someone who didn’t fit into the mold they were trying to pour me into. Not once did someone sit me down and say, “Let’s find out how you learn, let’s see what works best for you.” If they had, they would find that I was not an auditory learner. I had to see the pages of the books, immerse myself in that world, and put it all into my own words inside my own mind in order to make sense of it all. I had to touch things, I had to translate, I had to grasp subject matters in my own way in order to fully comprehend the what and why of it all. A lot of it just didn’t make sense to me the way it was being taught. But teachers only had one way to teach, so either learn that way, or be labeled as “ADHD/ADD” or a “menace.”
When I was a child, the diagnosis of “ADD/ADHD” was reserved for severely developmentally impaired children. It was not thrown around lightly, as it often is today. In fact, I wasn’t even diagnosed until the end of my junior year of high school, when I was faced with the likelihood that I may not graduate due to my grades. I was diagnosed (and labeled) as “ADD-ADHD combined type.” I initially felt relieved to have a diagnosis that helped me understand why I didn’t learn like everyone else, and why I behaved “differently.” It was no longer “my fault” that I couldn’t excel in a one-size-fits-all academic environment. I thought, maybe my parents won’t be angry at me anymore for not being able to do what seems so easy to everyone else. Because, it was not easy living in a society where everything I did was “wrong” because I couldn’t make myself do things exactly like everyone else.
Part of me wished I had never been labeled at all, and yet, it allowed me to use one term to explain some of my behaviors to others, as opposed to explaining all the ways in which I am not wired the same as everyone else. It took me a long time to get this, but I now know that there is nothing “wrong” with me. And I have come to appreciate that if a label helps people understand why I get excited and have a hard time waiting for people to finish speaking before I chime in, or why my foot doesn’t stop moving when I’m sitting and listening, or why I get distracted in the middle of a thought… well, then so be it. But, the truth is, there is so much more to it than that.
Our society is quick to assign labels to those who do not fit the mold. Those who do not do things like “everyone else” or who learn differently, speak differently, like different things, feel different ways, etc. There is a list of “normal” behaviors, and if a child displays behaviors outside of that list, something must be “wrong” with them. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with them—there is something wrong with the system. I believe the system is diseased and broken because it only supports one type of child— one that society has created a picture of since day 1, but has never truly existed. This child is supposed to be well-behaved, obedient, smart, respectful, not too curious, gentle, unexcitable… and so much more.
Society tells us who we are supposed to be in order to be loved, liked, get the job we want, have the life we want, and find the partner we want. No one has ever said to us “Hey! You don’t have to show up just like someone else, you can show up in whatever way feels right for you, and you will still be loved, valued, honored, and appreciated, no matter what.” Imagine if they had! What a world this would be! A world where all of us felt safe in our skin, felt safe to express ourselves creatively and passionately, and to show up in our unique weirdness in all ways. Imagine all that we would be able to accomplish knowing that it was not wrong to look different, or feel different, or sound different. No one has said that to us… but we can say that to our children. We can do better for them. We can offer them a life free of the uniformity of the “societal norm” and one-size-fits-all rigidity, and we can help them build and create their life in a way that feels right for them. We can honor them, exactly as they are, in this moment, and every moment after it. That is our gift, our legacy, and it is worth giving.