the misfits

Posted on July 11, 2007

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I’ve always been deeply touched by this video clip, “the misfits”. Although it was created for commercial purposes, it captures the essence of a meaningful life; making an impact, leaving a legacy. No matter class, race, creed, gender, we all can make a difference. But not by being normal, but rather by stepping up, being deemed strange, thinking different; maybe even a little “crazy”. My dad and I were talking about how I think and see things. He dubbed me a “renegade thinker” 🙂 That made me proud.

My 13 year old son proudly refers to himself as being “weird”. He came home saying that one of the students at school called him weird. He told me that he said to that student, “Thank you!” He questions things that normal people don’t think to question. He thinks deeply and understands people at a deep emotional level. Instead of going to the college prep school or a private school, which he has had opportunity to do, he chose to stay in the public school, “where his friends are”. He gravites to those that are the “misfits”, the “rejects”, and he has made me a proud father. With his reading comprehension scores at the 99th percentile, I think he will make a difference, whatever he chooses to do; as long as he stays grounded to people, the way he is. I’m beginning to see my daughter defining herself more in these terms, also, as she is getting older.

This past year, I’ve spent my career working with youth in poverty in 7 different alternative schools in Kent County. The kids that end up in alternative schools are stereotyped as the troublemakers, those that can’t make it in a “normal” high school. These kids aren’t the troublemakers in the small schools that listen to them. They just are not willing to be herded like cattle or succumb to the factory-style education of the big schools. They are human and they demand to be treated so. They question things and demand answers. They don’t settle for the status quo. I’ve found the youth of these schools to be the most friendy and responsive to adults that I’ve seen. These kids are pulling themselves out of poverty, homelessness, and violence to make a difference. It has been a real eye opener! They tend to be extremely creative and I will continue to watch and see what they do.

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