“Normal” is a subjective idea, based on my feelings, opinions, and surroundings.
For some, it is totally ordinary to drive a horse and buggy to get to the store, while others hop into their personal jet to go to the conference. Yet others pile the whole family on a motor scooter, but I am more of the Suburban full of kids variety.
On a farm you are considered a slacker if you don’t get up at the crack of dawn to go milk the cows, while many would think that hauling out of bed at 7 AM to buy milk for breakfast is bad enough. I have a farmer friend who supplies us with raw milk that I haul home, 5 gallons at a time.
Those who attend Mennonite churches are quite used to the idea of a church service ordered by invisible cues of cultural norm, while Lutherans carefully follow their liturgy and Quakers, I am told, have no set order in their service.
Some people decide to vaccinate their children while others insist that they will not allow any of those poisons to be injected into their babies. Personally, I think the worst best thing is slugging it out on the internet. 😉
In Europe, mothers think babies need lots of fresh air to stay healthy so they give them daily jaunts in the stroller, even in the grip of winter. Many women I know keep their little babies inside and out of drafts as much as possible.
So. Big deal. People live different lives.
Yes, it is a big deal. Many of our norms are completely harmless, neither here nor there. And yet.
The construction worker who doesn’t curse on the job in likely the odd man out on the crew. There are lots of people who cannot say a sentence without polluting it with obscenities.
Teens today have been conditioned to think it is their right to have an eye-rolling, mouthing-off rebellion to any authority. The respectful, considerate young adult stands out as refreshingly odd. Ever hear of the Rebelution?
In colleges, it is much more normal to sleep with a series of partners than it is to stay sexually abstinent until marriage. That is despite the fact that studies have shown greater happiness in the marriages of those who did abstain.
Some parents decide that yelling and meanness in their home is an acceptable way to live and let live. Many don’t talk to each other at all. Others do not stoop to arguing with their spouse nor do they allow their children to act ugly to their siblings.
You see, you get to choose your normal. If you think at all, you know where you draw the lines. Your beliefs lead the way to where you settle in and feel comfortable.
Tomorrow: Five Reasons to Embrace Pop Culture.