A round peg kid in a square hole world.

Some kids are just born for this world, naturally gifted with the necessary attributes required to succeed in society. My oldest son is this way, he checks all the boxes. But then there are those who just aren’t designed to fit the mold. May I introduce my middle son.

He’s naturally contrarian and stubborn as hell. I can tell him a hundred ways how the fire is hot but he won’t be satisfied until he burns himself. If you give the kid a problem, he’s bound to find a solution but the flip to this is that if you give him a solution he will become determined to find a problem.

What this all amounts to is that he is, at his core, a creator. If he didn’t play a part in the actual creation of a thing, then he would just as well tear it down. Destruction, after all, is just another form of creation. My theory is that all too often, this is the only option we leave available to such kids.

But I think there is a better way.

My middle son lives in a state of perpetually, distracted focus. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to do what I ask of him but leave him alone in a room with some boxes and tape and he will throw himself head first into a creative endeavor of his own choosing. He doesn’t lack work ethic, he just doesn’t see the point in doing something that doesnt engage him. He’s just here for the robot costumes.

So I think the trick is to understanding the freedom that each individual kid needs. It’s not about discipline, it’s about ensuring that a person has enough space in their life to express themselves creatively.

More importantly however, I have learned that my middle son only strives toward a goal when he has serious control over the creative project. A timeline, instructions, a plan… These are the things that my middle son rejects instinctually. He suffocates under too much control and so what I need to do is simply let him wander freely. Often times what happens is something beautiful.

He’s a round peg kid in a square hole world. I know that this will make his path in life more difficult but I also know it will be his greatest strength. Adversity is our greatest advantage so long as we have the wisdom to embrace it.