Thursday, October 15, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: Weirdness

I work for Mission Australia in the SEE (Skills for Education and Employment) Program. I'm an English language teacher who works mainly with adult migrants. We also have students/clients who are native speakers of English but have had some troubles of various kinds in school and end up unemployed, and in many cases unemployable. We dub them with the acronym ESL (Early School Leavers).

Yesterday my colleague and I were discussing the lifestyles choices of some of these ESL clients. They own nothing and do not desire to. They eat rubbish, not literally, but their diets are unhealthy and they don't care. They don't have jobs and they don't want jobs. They dress shabbily, don't attend very regularly to hygiene matters, and they have loud conversations as though they can't be heard by others, or they don't care if anyone hears what they say.

Image Source
We agreed they were weird, but then my colleague said to me that they probably think we are weird. She is right. The word weirdness has a negative connotation, so it's probably better just to think of difference rather than weirdness.

It was a small, casual conversation, but it had a profound effect on me. Live and let live right? As long as another person's weirdness does not negatively affect other people, who are we to judge?

Photo source


  1. Weird is subjective. Differences between us make the world go around. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Indeed. I'm pretty tempted to try the Batman shave.

  3. Difference can easily come across as weird. I've yet to understand accepting situations such as homelessness and how it fits into community. I attribute much of the behavior of "the different" to mental illness, but I guess there can be spiritual and philosophical implications as well.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

    1. Nice to hear from you Arlee. Yes, its a complex issue. Mental illness can play a part but I think in the case of these young people at my work, it's mostly environmental. They are invariably from dysfunctional families and their behaviour is a reflection of the models they have been shown. For some, the behaviour may even be reactionary.

  4. A very interesting post that made me think. I guess if the ne'er-do-wells never got on the public dole, they wouldn't bother me, but people who do nothing and expect to be taken care of (whether by family, spouse, or gov't) piss me off as I've experienced it first hand. It's often easy for them to think we're the weird ones as they've made a career out of blaming others for their problems. It's always others who are weird and at fault, never them...

  5. Hey Lexa. Definitely a lot of victim mentality on show, but I think a lot of it is generational. Coming from dysfunctional families, they live and act according to what they have been shown. It annoys me as well, but was taught to value work, respect people and take responsibility for my own actions. I went totally off the rails in my teens, but I found faith in Christ, and that also plays a huge role in how I think, behave and treat others.