Today during dinner, my husband, son, and I sat, eating an array of leftovers that consisted of rice, spaghetti, carrots, pan-fried tilapia, eggs, teriyaki chicken, and salad. We sat, said our prayers, and began chatting about our day. Mid-way through the meal, the conversation went something like this:
“I don’t like salad,” my son says.
“That’s okay,” I reply. “I like it. Do you know what I like about it?”
My son shakes his head.
“The colors.” And he proceeds to name the colors in my salad with me.
Daddy chimes in and says, “Carrots are good for you, baby. They give you super vision, like Superman.”
“I don’t want to be Superman,” my son says.
“Then how about Spiderman? Spiderman eats salad to make him strong.”
My son shakes his head. “I don’t want to be Spiderman.”
“Then, who do you want to be?” I ask.
“No one,” he replies. “I just want to be Lukas.”
My husband and I were caught off guard by the innocent, yet profound statement uttered by my almost-four-year-old.
We spend our lives looking up to and wanting to be others. We look up to role models, and work our behinds off so we can achieve the sliver of fame or recognition or status that we want, because we want to be like someone else. We want money because we want to be like those who are well off. We want those shoes because they’re the latest fashion and all the “cool people” have those shoes – and we want to be one of those “cool people.” We want that car because it says something about a status that we may or may not have. (And by the way, the “we” refers to us as humans, the general population, you, me, the guy in the corner, the girl at the mall. It means everyone.)
Sometimes, we believe we’re happy with who we are and, at times, we are. We like ourselves. But there are other times, and more than once, like during a mid-life crisis, when we just want to be someone else or we want what someone else has. We let ourselves be influenced by this and it clouds our judgement, our actions, our behaviors.
Lukas is on to something. “I just want to be me.” With imperfections and character flaws. I hope I can remember this next time I want to change something about me so I can be like someone else.