Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's in a name?

I remember sitting at a homeschool gathering and listening to one of my buddies talk about how she feels she doesn't fit in. Anywhere. Even with most homeschoolers. Because even though she teaches her kids at home, her methods and ideology are often questioned by whoever she is with. The classical method people thought she was way too relaxed. The unschoolers thought she was too structured. And whoever is middle of the road thought she was too far reaching of either side of middle to be truly called middle. She attends church, but isn't homeschooling for religious reasons. To be involved in a group setting of Christian homeschoolers is sometimes far too evangelical and preachy for her tastes, but the secular homeschooling groups sometimes assume you're flat out atheistic.

She doesn't fit.

What exactly is in a name? And why do we feel the need to label who we are? Is it because it makes other people "like us" easier to find, or does it actually work against us, because we have preconceived notions of what those other labels are?

It reminds me a little bit of high school. You had all those different groups and the people who fit into them. And then there was this odd sect of the school population that didn't really fit anywhere and were kind of forgotten about. They just kind of "were". That's where I would have been. I wasn't enough of any certain one group to be lumped in with them, nor did I want to be lumped into anything. I just kind of went about my daily thing and "was".

I think that's how I still am, I guess.

People impose labels for whatever reason...to group others who might be similar with each other. To find others who might be like or unlike themselves. But it doesn't always work. A lot of people would consider me an unschooler. But some unschoolers might say I'm not. A lot of people would consider me a Christian. A lot of Christians are uncomfortable with my questions of the faith and the broader sense of beliefs that I give to my kids. A lot of people would consider me homey or old fashioned or simple. But i've visited with some conservative christian families who would say I'm not any of the three.

So what's in a name? How do you think you might be labeled...and do those labels work for you? Why or why not? What issues have you had with being labeled...and what in the world to we teach our kids about how genuine labels are?

1 comment:

Ruralmama said...

Ha, ha. I'm sure that I shouldn't respond to this question at all. I already know what I'm labeled. :-)

I feel for your friend. It's not fun to not fit in when you feel forced to fit in. Yuck. Been there, changed that.

Hugs to you folks!