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What controversial advice have people given to their children?
My dad has told me this more times than I can count. As a kid I’d ask for his advice on something, and often part of his advice would be ‘be a wolf.’ For example, I once wanted to know whether I should take the lead role in a school play, and he just said to be a wolf. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of explaining to know what it means, but it is now the phrase I live my life by.
The basic idea is there are 2 types of people: sheep and wolves. Sheep will blend in, they will follow the crowd, they will accept the average, stick to the norm, and live life easy. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s a nice way to live a comfortable life, and it’s the option most people will take. Wolves do not. Wolves do not concern themselves with what is popular or what is normal. They will not accept mediocrity, and will strive to be the best they can be in every pursuit.
A lot of people would advise their children to behave in a normal way. If their kids said to them they wanted to go to school dressed as pikachu, they would explain as to why that isn’t socially acceptable. My dad never did that. If I said I wanted to go to school dressed as pikachu, he’d get me the costume, and tell me to rock the look. Now I know embarrassment isn’t nice — no one wants to be embarrassed — but here’s the thing: the more you try to avoid doing embarrassing things, the more embarrassed you will get. Yes my unusual behavior gets me comments, but I don’t care, because I know that I am doing what I love while everyone else is too scared to.
No one has ever become great by following the crowds, so my father actively encouraged weirdness in me, he still does. In fact I just ordered a fox tail off the internet to wear to college, because I loved Zootopia and I want to. People are going to judge, but they will no matter what. Might as well let them judge the real me. So my advice to any kids I might have will always be…
Be a wolf.
Jake Williams is a writer. His hobbies include mountain climbing, video games, reading, traveling, writing, studying history, and getting jealous of people who can sing, dance, or paint. Read more from Quora below: