Fitting in, blending in with the crowd, one size fits all, don't make waves are all mantras of today's society. In fact, these have been the modus operendi for over a century, ever since the industrial revolution, when rich industrialists needed cooperative, passive, boring, robot-like workers in their factories. Schools were created to produce these automatons that had a few skills (but, only enough to be efficient) and were completely obedient. And today, we are still trying to produce the same type of population in a world that is completely and unalterably different. We don't need a robotic citizenship any longer.
One size does not fit all! We are all totally unique individuals, with different learning styles, personalities, interests, goals and ambitions, families, and lifestyles. We need to rely on our own skills and interests to create a 'job' for ourselves.
The factories of yesterday will slowly be disappearing. We have already seen this in our own backyard. Reliance on corporations like Alcoa and GM worked fine for our parents and grandparents, but today we get promises from the big companies that are soon discarded. And, as long as they have enough legal staff to handle all of the law suits, those promises will never be kept (sorry, that is my cynicism sneaking in and editorializing).
We should be able to be proud of who we are; we should be able to go out and flaunt our personal differences; we should be able to cry out from the roof-tops, "This is who I am. Don't judge me by your standards!" But, fear often holds us back.
We often feel we can't, because of all those messages (verbal and non) we received throughout our childhood and adolescence. You know the ones: "Please change your shirt, it is a bit revealing." "No, that answer is WRONG!" "Today we are going to....and then I want you to.... and after that...." "Are you going to wear that?" "You have to, everyone else is." "You can't do that, what will people say?" "Sit still and focus." "Don't play with that; it is dirty." "Do your homework!"
We are squashing creativity and ingenuity, two of many characteristics that make us who we are. Many of our kids are growing up without a clue about themselves. They follow the safe, protected track set out for them. We are not protecting them; we are making sure life will be more challenging when they get older, because they have not learned how to solve problems, or entertain themselves.
Trusting kids to follow their instinct and their interests is all about letting go. Controlling every moment of their lives is not going to help them become happy, successful individuals. Trust them to find their own bliss and celebrate the wonderful, amazing, creative humans they are.