Kids, before I say another word, you should know that I don’t give advice—because I don’t have any. In fact, I’m still trying to figure out what the hangy thing is in my throat.
But if I DID have advice—which I don’t—I’d say this to you, my adolescent pals:
Be who you are.
You might think that’s easy. You’re wrong. Lots of folks ask you—beg you—to be someone other than you. They don’t mean any harm. They’ve just got deadlines, goals, grand ideas. Or: perhaps they claim to know what’s best for you. They don’t. You’ll have to trust me on that one.
You weren’t made to please them.
You were created for everyone—meaning, all mankind. In fact, that’s why you’re alive. And you aren’t any good to humanity if you’re pretending to be what some narrow-minded bucket-brain thinks you should be.
How about I say it like this:
I believe everyone is their own sort of animal. Me? I’ve always been a red squirrel. Squirrels are meant to climb trees, sleep all day, avoid residential dogs, and let all other woodland creatures feed them. It’s how we’re made.
Squirrels are NOT meant to tow wagons—like pack mules. They aren’t meant to swim rivers, burrow in dirt, or fly south for winters. And we’re certainly not meant to write. But some of us do.
Anyway, we’re squirrels. We have fat cheeks, beady eyes, and poor timing when it comes to oncoming traffic. It would be a crime to pretend we were, say, Labradors. After all, dogs don’t climb trees. Just like monkeys don’t balance checkbooks. And raccoons can’t operate my barbecue grill—even though those little hellions have tried.
Thus, be your own animal. Wear your bright-colored, funky clothes, scribble your name catty-wampus. Wear your silly hat, and don’t take it off until Mama says it’s time to shower. Love the people you love—also the ones you don’t. Be kind. And don’t judge adults too harshly, even if we don’t understand you.
We adults aren’t as smart as we think. Some of us never learned to be ourselves. We have always known we were zebras, turtles, yellowhammers, coonhounds, catfish, gators, or elephants. But we were too busy being jackasses to do anything about it. It’s a shame. But it’s our problem, not yours.
God made you unique. It might take you a lifetime to figure out what that means. But once you discover it, don’t let anyone take it from you.
Remember: this isn’t advice, kids. I’m no different than you.
It’s just the opinion of an average squirrel.