The False Virtue of Normalcy

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Ilya Shambat

May 10, 2022, 6:40:20 PMMay 10
When I was 12, I had a neighbor of the same age named Gerald. Gerald was a gifted kid; but his father would not let him into a talented-gifted program because he wanted him to be a “normal kid.” I never quite understood that.

Why do so many parents want their children to be “normal”? I find this an atrocious approach to parenting. This way, the kid is made to be something that he is not while being denied who he is.

And that means: Also denying the world the benefits of what the kid has to offer.

Of the major contributors to humanity, very few were what many people would regard as being normal. Thomas Edison and Friedrich Nietzsche went insane. Steven Jobs was a hippie. Dostoyevsky was an epileptic. Nikolai Tesla, Lord Byron, William Blake, John Keats and any number of others were tortured geniuses. I do not need to mention King David, Jesus Christ, Mohammad and Lao Tsu – people from whom the bulk of the world derives its moral instruction. None of these people are anywhere close to being “normal.”

I do not see why being “normal” should be seen as a virtue – any kind of virtue. There is virtue in originality, intelligence and ingenuity. There is virtue in wisdom, compassion and kindness. There is virtue in integrity, in courage, in hard work. These are genuine virtues, and ones that should be cultivated in children and adults alike.

All of these things make for far superior instruction than forcing gifted kids to be what they aren't while denying them – and others – the benefits of what they are.

The values related to this matter should be reworked. Real virtues should be cultivated and instilled in children. The world owes vastly to people who aren't “normal,” and forcing all children to be “normal” is wrong. It forces children to be what they are not while denying what they are. And that means: Denying the world the benefit of what they have to offer.

Ilya Shambat
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