How boring would this world be if we were all cookie cutter carbon copies of each other ? Imagine a world in which we all had the same skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, religion, nationality, ethnicity, and the same set of abilities and capabilities. Can you imagine that ? Nope, me neither. The truth is, we were all created with different physical, mental, and emotional characteristics and that makes every one of us unique onto ourselves. As you sit there reading this blog, be rest assured that there is exactly ONE of you with no duplicate copies out there in the world.
As adults, most of us have grasped this concept and have by now embraced our own uniqueness and thrive in it. For children, on the other hand, what we as adults are able to see as our own uniqueness, other children see as “weird”. You’re short, you’re fat, you’re skinny, your hair is kinky, your nose is wide, your nose is long, you talk funny, you dress funny, you’re a dork, and any one of a million other quips that their fellow playmates come up with that can often make kids feel ostracized. As kids go through the process of growing and developing through their adolescent years, their psyche and self esteem can often be very fragile. The day to day hammering over the head of their “weirdness” by classmates and playmates can often have a destructive impact on a child’s self confidence. As parents, this is where we have to step in.
Your child is unique and there is no one else in the whole wide world like him or her. No one else looks like they look, no one else speaks as they speak, and no one else walks as they walk, in their own unique shoes to the beat of their own unique drum. There are no duplicate carbon copies of your unique gift, your child. Your child is unique and one of a kind and that alone makes them special. Let your child know this and celebrate their uniqueness as often as you can. As a young child moving to the USA from Jamaica, my uniqueness was my accent and in no uncertain terms, the neighborhood kids let me know on a daily basis that I was just “weird”. All kids have a desire to fit in and my “weird” accent was cause for me to be self conscious about every word I spoke. As a kid, that mattered to me but as I got older, it didn’t. As parents, one of our primary jobs is to empower and encourage our kids and lay the foundation for them to reach the highest of heights. Helping them to embrace their unique differences will be one of our most important jobs.
As I embarked on the journey of writing the book series The Underdog with the Underbite, I wanted to connect the challenge of kids trying to accept their unique differences with the challenging true life story of our dog Spud, the “weird” looking dog with the underbite. In Spud “the underdog”, it is my hope that kids will connect with the spirit of one who was different, one who looked “weird”, one who wasn’t the pick of the litter, one who was the runt who wasn’t supposed to make it, and one who persevered and overcame her life’s many challenges despite all the obstacles. The spirit of the underdog lies within every child who has ever been told they’re not smart enough, not good enough, not tall enough, not pretty enough, or otherwise discounted for not being enough. The spirit of the underdog , when activated and channeled, embraces life’s challenges and demonstrates that through perseverance, persistence, and determination, anything is possible. In Spud “the underdog”, it is my hope that kids find their kindred spirit and their inner voice to embrace and tackle each of life’s challenges, despite being the underdog.
It is very possible that your child has or will develop some physical or mental characteristics that may possibly make them a target of jokes from other kids. As their adolescent minds develop, they will often need sources of encouragement and a boost of self confidence to persevere against the headwinds of the obstacles they will face. Remind them as often as you can, in as many ways as you can, that they are unique, that they are special, that they are a one of a kind gift, and that their distinguishing unique characteristics set them apart from others. It is your job to help them channel their inner spirit of “the underdog” to overcome the challenges they will undoubtedly face in this thing called life. It is my sincere hope, that this book series will help them to do so. Be blessed.