Different Holes

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Most babies and toddlers are given toys involving various shapes that fit in specific holes. The purpose, of course, is to develop the reasoning skills to match like items. Usually young children are fascinated by this physical, concrete challenge and will try and try again until they master the toy.

Unfortunately, we do not often carry that same enthusiasm over to the more abstract challenges of human personalities and traits. We attempt to press all into the same hole, regardless of what shape each individual may take. Any sharp corners, any odd protrusions, are labeled with ominous sounding letters and either bullied or medicated into invisibility.

Our family happens to possess many such inconvenient differences, some shared and some unique to one or another. Those traits have exerted prominent influences on everyday life recently, causing enough difficulty that we have had to call attention to certain differences in efforts to overcome. A few days ago I overheard my children at the lunch table discussing their differences. “I’m OCD.” “I’m ADHD.” I’m Anxiety.”

Although it’s hard to avoid absorbing some of that attitude from society in general, we as a family do not approach differences in that way. We took the time that day to redirect our thinking. These letters are not who we are, they merely describe a small part of ourselves, a part that makes us unique. Because those corners don’t fit in the prescribed hole, others see them as weaknesses to be eliminated. Instead, when we find the correctly fitting hole, those assumed weaknesses become great strengths. The perfect circles can’t fit into our holes anymore than we can fit into the circular hole. We possess something others do not and must learn to use our unique traits for their unique purposes. Only when all the shapes in the puzzle find their matching hole can the puzzle be complete. Only when each individual embraces and directs uniqueness into a fitting pursuit can a society function as a whole.

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