Am I Normal:

If you work with young people – you will be aware that much of a young person’s anxiety during their developmental years can be boiled down to one simple question – “am I normal” – and the desire of discovering: how do i fit in…

Again this question raises another obvious retort – But what is normal…?

The world is filled with stereotypes and ideal notions of how we should look, talk, behave and interact. What we should like, what music we should listen to and what we should wear…

We all look at the people around us and think they have all the answers – that they look confident, they know what to say, are at ease with themselves, are funny and sexy, and know who they are… this couldn’t be further from the truth…

Everyone feels confused, a little lost, a bit unsure and out of control from time to time. In truth, I believe that you can only class yourself as adult when you admit to yourself that you will never have all the answers… And this is a key point for you too… admit to the young people you work with that you don’t have all the answers… it is an essential lesson for them to learn that adults are fallible too. However, it is a hard truth we all like to ignore.

So, back to the question: What is normal…? 

We can look at notions of gender – what is normal for boys and girls… but in essence how intrinsic are these idea? Is there really a man box/ woman box to keep things all neat and tidy?

What about size – height and weight – body image… what should we look like – how many people really fit the ideal? – And how often are the people we revere and respect those that break the mould – that dare to be different?

What about pop culture – the shows we watch and the music we listen to?

What about how clever we are or what we are interested in…

What is so special about being normal? Why is it important? You are not normal you are you…

Why follow when you can lead…?

The need to be normal is based on our own insecurities and anxieties. It is scary to stand out from the crowd. It is scary to have your own views or your own voice. It takes real reflection to know who you are and courage to be brave enough to show it to the rest of the world…

However, we tend to respect and be attracted to those people who are very simply themselves.

Embrace the question with your class – ask them What is normal… and see where it leads.

Spend some time working through the About You work book and encourage them to explore the notion of who they are… and keep coming back to the question.

But be aware one of the key motivating factors for young people is the need to know if they are normal.

D(:)ing It! Secondary School RSE Training & Resource Package
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