In the movie Benny and Joon, the mentally ill Joon looks at Sam and says, “You’re out of your tree.” Sam replies, “It’s not my tree.” (Try around 7:30 if you don’t want to watch the whole clip.)
These are some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard.
Yesterday, Walaikum asked me if I thought he was different than other students his age. Short answer: yes. The long one involves his thought processes and his personal views and his experiences (and the fact that no one is the same as anyone else). Walaikum said he doesn’t want to be different, he wants to be “normal”.
I didn’t know what to say.
When I posted it on Facebook, one of my sisters made it a whole 9 minutes before not-so-subtly implying that perhaps he was talking to the wrong person if he’s looking for someone to put him on the path of conformity.
I’ve been thinking about it for 19 hours now; still can’t think of how to support Walaikum in his decision to be “normal”. Think I’m going to have to be a terrible mentor and have at him about individuality. Think I might have to find a way to demonstrate that his tree is the best tree for him. Although, maybe it won’t be so terrible; while Walaikum doesn’t know me the way my sisters do, it must be pretty obvious that I don’t fit neatly into normal society. Perhaps he knew what I would do.
Time to go plant a new tree.