Flowers - DaisiesThis essay was recently written by my 16-year-old grandson, David Noah Saginor. Please see my comment to him at the end of the article.

Once upon a time, there was a patch of flowers. These flowers had been growing in a certain direction for years upon years and were happy that way. They got sunlight, rainfall, and everything else they needed. They thought no other way could possibly be better. However, one day, one lone flower dared to try a new direction to grow. Doing so not to upset the other flowers, it simply felt that this was better. Although the flower wanted not to upset the others, inevitably it did and was mocked for it. “You are weird,” said the other flowers. “Nobody else grows that way, so why are you doing it?” The lone flower ignored their hurtful remarks and still kept up its thinking. As the flower began to grow in this new direction, it noticed it got more sunshine and rain this way. It grew stronger than the other flowers, it grew taller than the other flowers, and soon enough it began to see that those flowers, which had been calling it “weird,” were now all withering away. Eventually, the other flowers saw that this was good and they did the same, growing with the flower and not against it. They had realized that instead of immediately rejecting this new flower’s ways, they should have given it a chance. In the end, through all the challenges the flower faced, it was hailed as a hero who dared to think differently. The lone flower and the other flowers lived happier and much healthier for evermore.
What is weird? What does it mean? The dictionary defines weird as: Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange. But what does that really mean? People today use the term “weird” pretty loosely. It can describe an object, an occurrence, a color, a comment, etc. But what is most disturbing is when people are described as weird. Weird is a way of specifying what is unknown to an individual. People in general are afraid of the unknown, but why? If a person is not familiar with something, their instincts naturally tell them to be cautious. But there comes a point where one can confuse being cautious with being ignorant and pertinacious. Through countless years of hate and conformity people have been taught to shun and reject all that seemingly defies that which is the so-called “norm.” To what purpose? Instead of embracing this unfamiliar entity and learning from it, people are too busy focusing their time and energy on isolating and ultimately destroying this new presence. Teenagers especially misuse the term weird and it should not be overlooked, for it is here in the teen years where social prejudices are at their height in development and where they will be determined for the rest of life. Therefore, those misconceptions should be corrected at this point in life. You see, teenagers, being immature and lacking in worldly knowledge, simply use the term weird as a shield. It protects them from the very unknown of which they are actually afraid. To be weird is not to be wrong; it is simply to be different. A so called weirdo is simply one who has gone beyond this “norm,” someone who has broken free from the bonds of society and is now exploring new and uncharted territories of wisdom. Amongst teens, it is felt that all must conform to societies’ pressures and follow that which is being presented to them through magazines, movies, books, TV, etc. What they must come to see is that a “weird” person can offer them knowledge of things either beyond their understanding, or of things they just have not yet considered. For example, someone weird may be more mature than the surrounding group. Instead of thinking how and why this person is different, teenagers reject them, when in fact they could have learned from this “weird” individual. Perhaps weird is just another way of saying misunderstood. There is a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who can be honorably referred to as very misunderstood. “Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” In conclusion, it does not matter what others say about you. What really counts is what you say and think about yourself. Be the lone flower, take a stand and just be different!

May FlowersTo David from me: Tying the theme and moral to the metaphor of flowers was brilliant work, and overall, every bit of it reminds us of a life’s lesson: closed mindedness is a terrible disease, and only those who dare to explore new paths are ever able to find roads that help improve the quality of life and the road to the future.

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