Being weird became cool last night at the Academy Awards thanks to winner Graham Moore. While accepting his award for best adapted screenplay for “The Imitation Game” at Sunday’s Oscars, Moore stated “I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.”
What an amazing gift Moore’s words were to so many kids, teens and parents around the world. Children and teens struggle with low self esteem and fitting in with their peers every single day. Parents struggle about how to help their kids feel secure enough with themselves to live in a world which can be cruel at times for simply being different. On a regular basis, we must remember to tell our children how fortunate and how proud we are to be their parents.
One of the most important gifts parents can give to their kids is acceptance and validation. If your kid is not the typical jock or cheerleader do not make a big deal about it. Make a big deal about what they are amazing at and embrace their unique talents. Help your child to believe in themselves no matter what they are interested in pursuing. The more your child receives praise for what he or she is good at, the more confidence he or she will have. In addition, suicide rates decrease among teens when parents are actively involved in their kid’s lives.
Your kids want you to accept them for who they are and what they want to become. They need to see from your actions and hear in your words that you encourage them to be themselves despite what other kids may say. When kids are put down or teased by their peers they often suffer from low self esteem.
It takes a conscious effort every single day as parents, to make sure that our children know how much they are truly respected. Parenting is no easy task but your consistent investment in their dreams is well worth it.
Encourage their dreams, even if they are not your own. Instead of pushing your kids to do things you want them to do, give them the space and the encouragement to pursue their own passions and dreams. Talk to them about things they are interested in, and find ways to help them learn more about whatever makes them smile and feel confident. You’ll instill self-confidence as well as an overwhelming feeling of love.
Thank you Graham Moore for standing up last night in front of millions of people and sharing your life’s struggles. Thank you for being that positive voice for the many kids who truly think they are weird. Most importantly, thank you for letting kids know that they should always be proud of who they truly are. There is nothing more important that being you and owning it.