So many of us want life to return to “normal”.
“I want a normal Christmas!”
“I want travel to feel normal again!”
“When will shopping be normal?”
I hear these comments everywhere and I wonder what normal is?
If you have ever heard of the bell curve you know where the concept of normal comes from. The theory is that when everyone is rated on a graph it will create a curve and the bulk of people will fall somewhere in the middle… and that is normal!
But normal can change depending on where you are and who you hang around with!
In my world it is “normal” to put up a Christmas tree. Almost everyone does! But there are parts of the world where that would actually be abnormal… or maybe different is a less offensive word.
Many of us feel that a complete absence of masks when out in public would be normal finally… in many oriental cultures masks were an accepted public health measure whenever you were a bit under the weather. In those places I might have had to wear a mask quite a bit due to sniffles or a sore throat!
In the world of foster care there are many struggles with what is normal. Parenting my foster kids doesn’t feel normal… it is different from how I parented my bio kids!
Normal can vary!
The bell curve tells us something else about normal… only about 68% fall in the “normal” range!
Take a look around you…. one out of every 3 people probably don’t fall in the “normal” range in certain areas of their life!
16% of people are better than average! We actually recognize this in many ways within our world. We know that person who is always funny, the person who always knows the right thing to say, the person who never gets lost… think of the exceptional things about the people you know and you will see the abnormal! We are actually attracted to the abnormal because it stands out!
The thing about normal is that we all blend in! We want to be exceptional in some things!
There is also the other side of the bell curve. 16% of people struggle with “normal” stuff. The person who is never on time, the person who is always lost, the person who is always missing the social cues… these things are part of the curve too. We all probably have a few deficits where we’d like to feel more “normal”.
Often kids who are in care have some deficits that register on the left side of the curve. It is hard for them to accept being outside of the “norm”. Just being a kid in care puts them outside the norm since most kids are raised by their parents!
The reality is that “normal” encompasses the entire bell curve. The curve exists because research has shown it is normal for the population to be dispersed over it!
So stop judging the things you struggle with! You are normal! Everyone has things that land outside the 68% of normal people that the world is geared for!
We need to normalize being outside the norm!
In the midst of the mess