The acorn

An acorn shoots and grows into a mighty oak – that’s the logo of the US department of education. I was amazed: 1) I have always perceived an acorn as something magical 2) the logo stands for growing up into what you were meant to be – you see, it’s not an acorn growing up into a tomato or a pine tree, but an acorn growing up into an oak.

What’s so special about that? Well, let ME ask you several questions:

  1. Have you ever thought that YOU were meant to be something special – a unique person who will make his unique difference in the world?
  2. Have you ever tried to find out what your unique purpose is?
  3. Have your parents ever encouraged you to be yourself?
  4. Has your school ever catered for your unique individuality?

1.

It seems that most of us perceive themselves as average, mediocre people who were not meant to make a difference in the world. We strive to survive by being “normal”, by keeping a low profile, by taking up the most popular majors. We grow up to believe there is just one way to be happy, and we have this model reinforced in our minds through soap-operas, Barbie magazines, Big Brother, tabloids, mom’s advice, neighbors’ example, commercials – millions of people cannot be wrong, right?

2.

Trying to find out what your unique purpose is could be painful swimming against the tide. You know, nobody has ever become the prophet of his native village. As we are “only” human, most of us try to avoid any kind of discomfort. Well, I don’t mean sitting down and thinking of what occupation or lifestyle will make you happy is necessarily painful. NO! However, it might take effort to use your own brain; it might give you guilty conscience for you believe daydreaming is a waste of time; it might leave you embarrassed to find out you do not wish for a realistic secure mature life, and you’ve always avoided being a pink elephant, haven’t you?

3.

Some parents do admire their child’s uniqueness, but for the sake of their offspring’s well-being, they try to kill it softly, to suppress it gently, or lead their child to believe that it’s something he should take as a hobby.

To tell you the truth, I personally know just one mom who has been consistent in encouraging her children to be what they feel they should be. She is one of my friends’ mom – she has been a cleaning woman for most of her adult years; she was a young mother of three when her husband died. My friend is a professional artist, and I think he’ll always be what he feels like being, despite the fact that he has his downs in income as artists do not get a monthly salary, you know.

When I first went to their place, his mom was eager and proud to show me a pile of drawings – she had kept EVERYTHING he had drawn since the day he had got hold of a pen. When he was leaving for Vienna several years ago, she was a bit worried. I told her, “Don’t worry. He’ll survive. He can always take any job.” “Why should he take ANY job?”, his mom asked, “He is an artist. He has talent. That’s what he should do.”

Since then I have been trying to be like my friend’s mom to my son, who, coincidentally, has the same name as my friend’s. I don’t know what is to become of him,. Few people were born with such conspicuous talent as my friend’s or Mozart’s. So I just keep showing my son all the opportunities I know of, encouraging him to believe that he can also invent opportunities. I hope some day he finds out what his “acorn” is like and lets it grow, and I would not be crushed if he turns out to be a gay artist, for example.

As for my own parents, they did not worry much about my vocational choices. They believed I should become what I am capable of and feel happy about my choice. I am not sure if they believed I was special, but they did not relate my vocational choices to survival as it was communism back then, and everybody was guaranteed physical survival through a job and a salary. Well, they knew teaching would not bring me much money or prestige, but they did not yield to their friend’s pressure “A teacher? She is so bright! She could have been accepted anywhere. Why didn’t she take up international business? She’ll be satisfied with teaching?!?”

4.

When I was a student, I was lucky to have teachers who liked me for what I was, who believed it was cute to be different, to be oneself. They believed in me and encouraged my individuality – most of them. I was lucky not to be taught by the scared people obsessed with survival who teach my son and students today. That mattered a lot.

It’s not easy being oneself today. People around us are so obsessed with physical survival that their idea of success and happiness is buying an apartment and a car, and all the fancy trinkets that are believed to exude prestige. Most kids today grow up seeing only what their parents and neighbors can see. What most of them can see is misery. How sad.

How about you? Do you care about letting your acorn grow?

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5 responses to this post.

  1. […] ученическия блог днес написах  това. Може да се приеме като продължение на текста ” […]

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  2. […] 24th, 2007 · No Comments В ученическия блог днес написах  това. Може да се приеме като продължение на текста ” […]

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  3. […] можеш да погледнеш един от блоговете ми, където писах текст за жълъда, т.е. призванието, с което си роден, което можеш да […]

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  4. Posted by Mimoza on July 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    This is the 3rd time I read this post, because I want to ully understand everything in it – it is sooo sense-full! I agree with all of the 3 points but 1, I don’t know how it would sound but I have always believed I must do something special. I don’t wonder that this acorn is in some way concerned with the educational system. Knowledge is a power right 😉 And what exactly is this acorn? Is it a study-programm or smht?

    Reply

  5. it’s your true self 🙂

    Reply

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