I took my Godsons to the book store last week and learned a lesson about tolerance and allowing someone to be who they are and who they want to be. All this for the simple price of purchasing a few books. An invaluable lesson for pennies.
I have never considered it a waste of money to spend it on books, no matter what the content of a book. It was always about reading, opening the mind and getting interested in learning an author’s view of the world. So when my best friend and his wife took the weekend off from the kids, I planned a day of bookstore shopping, visiting a hobby shop and dinner.
We went to one of the larger bookstores (three levels) in their city. The nanny took the older boys, while I kept the 22 month old busy by reading to him. While I was reading to him, four twenty something year olds, started a role play type game (one was an elf character, another some sort of witch wizard). “C” my young 22 month old Godson was fascinated more by the voices they had created for these characters than by book I was reading him. Anyway, I thought to myself, these guys are really out there and then I thought to myself I hope none of my boys grow up to be weird like these guys.
The instructions I had given to “T” and “W” was to find fun books, one that they didn’t have to read, but one that they thought would add fun to their lives. After an hour, the boys found “C” and I. We ordered hot cocoa from the cafe and sat down to discuss why the books they had chosen were fun and we were all to judge whether or not the books would be purchased. You needed at least two votes per book.
“T”, the eldest went first. He had chosen off the wall books. One book about a boy who would never grow up (you know who this green clad flying character is–I just didn’t want to put his character name here, to avoid those wandering google finds), got four thumbs up. Another book about a sports player also got four thumbs up, and even his avatar comic book got four thumbs up. I think that “C” put all his thumps up, just because the rest of us were.
“W” started to show his books. The first one was about a foreign country. Hmm, I thought I had said “fun” and not educational. “T” said thumbs down. My middle Godson’s face turned a bit red. His second book was about creatures in the ocean. Again, I thought to myself, the instructions were “fun”, not educational. I wanted them to read books that they didn’t have to read. His third and final book was about volcanoes and other natural disasters.
I explained to “W” that the books were suppose to be fun, they were suppose to be nonsensical. He looked up at me and explained that they are fun. The books were about “random things” (his words). He said that just because “T” didn’t think they were fun, doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. He looked down into his cup of cocoa crestfallen. He pushed the pile of books away and mumbled he didn’t like the final judgement. At that moment my heart felt crushed, one of my children felt judged.
I thought about the guys playing their role play game, how I immediately judged that they were weird. It dawned on me that they were actually just having fun. They weren’t harming anyone. I’m sure they had parents, uncles, aunts and siblings who loved them. There were people who didn’t think they were weird. There were those who thought, those four people were perfect and normal.
I looked at “W” and told him that we could buy those books. I told him no more thumbs up and thumbs down games–that it was a non fun game. He smiled and told me that he would give me a full report about these books. He told me that he would prove that the content was fun. Everyone has a different opinion about what construes fun. Everyone is different in thought and personality. It is what makes living worthwhile. These differences are how we learn from one another.
We just have to accept these differences and realize that the word “weird” has no place in describing them.
P.S. My Godsons are perfect in every way. No judgement there…they just are. And nothing brings me more happiness then watching them become the persons they are meant to become.