My son is not like other kids. For being 10 years old, he is wise beyond his years. He has a level of confidence I never reached until my 20’s. He has intelligence that, at certain times, surpasses my level of intelligence and I am 30 years older than him! When we talk, he is honest and forward about his feelings.
He prefers to read a book at recess instead of playing with the other kids. He prefers to draw quietly at his desk rather than chat with the other kids. He loves technology but has had a challenge meeting other like mined children which is why he stays quiet. He is not a shy kid by any means. His brain is constantly working and calculating. He is a gifted child with a need to learn.
There have been some concerns by “others” about my child that keeps to himself and is quiet. We have ZERO concern about this because we know him and understand him. Still, it takes some adults “time to understand” our child who prefers reading over playtime. In their eyes, they think he is developing a “loner mentality”. It could not be further from the truth.
As we talked about school and classmates, I told him the following phrase. “It is ok not to like everyone in your class”. That is when the floodgates broke and the tears streamed down his face. He told me about his classmates and how he does not “connect” with them. “The boys only care about sports and fighting. I just don’t like that so I read instead”. His comment about the girls? “They just talk about boys”. He explained that he just has not met many peers that are like him. He has two friends that do “get him” but he only sees them occasionally because they are in different classes.
I explained how I learned that it is important to be nice to everyone but that 2 amazing friends are much better than 50 ok friends. That as we get older, we tend to pull away from the negative and draw closer to the friends who carry a positive outlook. As we journey through life, our friends change as our paths change. This is what I learned just in the last few years of my life yet he is fully aware of this at 10.
As a child, I was taught to be everyone’s friend. That being liked by everyone was best. This idea of being everyone’s “friend” became an obsession. If I met someone who did not like me, I did everything in my power to try and make them like me. I even did this at the expense of losing some really amazing friends. In my mid 30’s, I had a wake-up call. I stopped trying to make everyone like me and decided to focus on the important people in my life. A funny thing happened, I was happier. I no longer needed to get the approval of people who were disrespectful towards me. It was ok not to like everyone I met. If I met someone who did not like me – that is their loss.
No my dear son – you are not strange or different or a “concern”. You are so wise and so right about the world around you. It is important to be nice to your fellow man but they do not need to be your friend. You do not have to like everyone you meet.