Alien Moms, SUV’s, and Sweet Nike’s

September 16, 2009

Back when I was a kid, when I was like 7, my family didn’t have much money. I lived in a neighborhood where most kids came from the same situation I was in. Fathers weren’t around, mothers worked full-time, and the kids had to fend for themselves after school until mom got home. There just wasn’t enough of the American Dream to go around my poor neighborhood in Oceano, California.

Being surrounded by families with similar backgrounds to mine wasn’t the problem, I felt comfortable around them. The problem surfaced when I went to school with kids who weren’t like me. They had dads. Their moms brought them to school and went back home to do whatever it is moms that stay at home do. They cooked and cleaned and had tea parties or something. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and I respect her more than anybody in the world, but these mothers, they were different. Truth be told, I didn’t like them. Sometimes, I would convince myself that they were aliens from another planet that were controlling their families with their mind-control devices, or whatever it is that alien-moms use. In a sense, they were aliens to me.

Back to the story. When it came down to it, I felt that, despite my awkward and ignorant hatred of these mothers, the children of these families were better than me. They were better than me because they had dads. They were better than me because they had moms that stayed home to do outlandish things. They were better than me because they had cool clothes. They were better than me because their parents drove SUV’s. They were better than me for so many reasons.

Think about that. What kind of damage does that do to a kid growing up? What harm did it do convincing myself that all of these kids were superior to me? While all of these other seven year-olds were on the playground having a blast, I was afraid to walk across the blacktop because they would fun of me for having off brand Nike’s. That kind of thinking creates a pathetic lifestyle for a second grader.

That lifestyle involves one thing. One motivation. One desire. One dream. You must fit in. I’m the skinniest white kid on the face of the earth, how on earth was I supposed to fit in with the athletic kids so I could be cool? I was a nerd. I’m still a nerd! It just wasn’t possible!

Did I ever fit in? Heck no! My nerd posse and I just hid inside the classrooms at lunch. It was quiet, we could read or play our computer games, but most of all, we didn’t get beat up in there. It was much more pleasant.

Looking back on those experiences, I’m horrified. How many kids felt the way that I did? Probably a lot more than I realized at the time. There were so many kids looking to fit in and to be accepted that they’d do anything to feel like they were.

Now, I’m almost 21 years old. I’m nowhere near wise, experienced in life, or worthy of giving advice, but I know one thing.

Wealth.

Fame.

Beauty.

Social Acceptance.

Sex.

Drugs.

All of those things have nothing to do with your definition as a human being. They don’t make you who you are. Being wealthy doesn’t mean a single thing. Sure, you’re the Senior Vice President of a Fortune 500 company, you have a wife that stays home during the day to have tea parties, you drive a Mercedes to work, and your kid has really sweet Nike’s, but what does that mean for you? What kind of lasting substance do you have in your life?

What others think of you does not define you. The calling that is placed upon our life and how you act upon it defines you. The relationship you have with your maker defines you. Not the maker that you pray to when times get rough, or the maker that you visit on Christmas and Easter, but the maker that breathed life into you and created you from dust. The maker that called your name and told you that you didn’t have to have sweet Nike’s and be really good at basketball to be loved and to make a difference in the world.

That maker.

That maker that gave your life a purpose, a reason for breathing.

A definition.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’ve got nothing against Nike (except for high prices and exploitation of the less fortunate in third-world countries, of course) but if a brand, job, or a smokin’ hot wife define you, something that has to give.

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