We are always placed neatly into little boxes. We are categorized, placed inside and then it’s duct taped tight until we become stuck, trapped in our little prison until eventually we believe that box is home.
One of my greatest challenges as a parent is to make home bigger than any box. It is an uphill battle every single minute to teach my kids to think outside the box. It is only when their mind believes they belong in one that they remain trapped. Life is constantly defining who we are. You are varsity, jv, a team, b team. It’s what whispers quietly behind those labels that destroys the potential of what someday we are now guaranteed to never be. What do those words REALLY mean? You are awesome, you are the best, you are average, you suck, you are the bottom of the heap. We use these words in the name of sports and competition and convince ourselves that these lessons are necessary for us to grow. Really? Grow what? Greatness? Suckness? I guess it depends on who you are. Grow where, in our little box that someone else gets to stick us in. Our label of talent, be it work, school, sports, whatever, puts us in a place that eventually cuts off our very own spirit until we become exactly who people tell us we are.
What can you do about it? What can any of us do about it? I don’t have all the answers but I can tell you what I do. I build their spirits up so great that they will never be contained by a little cardboard box. I tell them that hard work and effort and character and attitude all outweigh that little piece of talent determined by someone else. Those traits are so much larger than the confines of another’s opinion. They are like a magic key that will guarantee you will never belong to someone’s opinion, you will never be someone else’s prisoner.
If I’m being honest, we are not labeled by our determination or even our talent. We are just simply labeled and that label is handed to us by someone who has no idea of a single ingredient we are actually made of. That is his truth and not ours and it is not even the truth at all. Rip that box open. Have the courage to fight your way out and step into the box you know you really belong in. Don’t close it up. Stand proud and say this is who I am and I decide where I belong. Then the box that could have been a prison will be a gift to everyone your life touches. You will be a hero, a voice and an inspiration for the ones who choose to remain trapped. Don’t be a victim. Be a hero.