The other day I was watching Talky taking a swimming test. All the other kids were nicely standing in a line. Talky was goofing around: climbing on rails, dipping his feet into the pool, jumping, sitting, getting up, rolling on the floor, picking up a stick and pretending to shoot me with it. First I thought “oh dear, why can’t he behave like all the others”.
Then I remembered. I remembered one of the last discussions I had with his best friend’s father. He looked me into the eyes and asked for two things:
Promise me you never become boring [again was what he meant]. Do weird things. Be weird.
Don’t force Talky become too Finnish. You can take him out of Africa, but you can never take Africa out of him. Let him be wild and bubbly and loud. That’s who he is, and the last thing you want to do is to kill his personality.
So I put that oh dear thought into a bin, smiled and enjoyed him having fun. If one of my biggest fears in moving back to Finland is getting stuck with that predefined small “normal” box, I better start with myself and my own thinking.
Apparently Talky did very well in the test. The swimming club seems to be very excited about getting him into their junior squad team. Academically South African education on average might not be world class, but physical education and all the emphasis placed on sports is. Compared to Talky most of the other kids tested were big, slow and clumsy. Or perhaps that’s how Finnish kids turn out to be because of all the helmets and safety nets and don’t climb theres?