If you don’t have Netflix, find someone who does. If you don’t know someone who does, try it for free for 30 days just so that you can tune in to Brené Brown’s recent special.
It is called “The Call to Courage” and addresses many significant topics. My biggest takeaway is in her insightful way of describing and differentiating fitting in versus belonging.
Do I fit in? Do I belong?
You may or may not know that I homeschool my kids. Part of this means driving them around to a lot of programs. I’m just waiting for that service to come to my town where they drive your kids around for you. Like Uber, but for kids. But for now, I am their chauffeur. Each Friday, I drop them off at a full day program where the kids spend the day outside. Rain, snow, sleet, sun, or slush, they’re out there, happy as can be.
My 8 year old son does not fit in. He is concerned about this and sometimes describes how other kids don’t notice him. How they dress differently than he does. They like different TV shows than he does. They laugh at different jokes than he does. And they just don’t notice him. They just don’t notice me, mom.
He doesn’t fit in. But does he belong?
Brené Brown introduces this subject and explains the difference in this Netflix show that you have to watch yesterday. I won’t spoil it all for you.
But she also explains it in some of her books that you need to read last week. Specifically, in one of her less recent books, The Gifts of Imperfection, she addresses this topic.
“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”
To belong is to be first and foremost and most importantly and fully true to ourselves first.
I want my boy to know who he is and to be true to that. I want him to own his personal likes and embrace those. I want him to be committed to exploring different things in the attempt to discover the things he might love. I want him to know what he stands for and to, well, stand for that.
Despite what others say. Regardless of what others do.
Even though others may not notice.
At the end of it all, I want my boy to belong. Fitting in? That’s optional.