The Legend of the Mermaid : Believe in Your Differences

"Where do the Mermaids stand? All the 'Mermaids'--all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and piegeonholes?"
-Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (pg. 74).
I love Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, a book that examples how life’s many lessons take root in our early childhoods. I pick up this book of essays periodically, either for a laugh or to remind myself of what’s important.

Recently I turned to Fulghum’s essay “The Mermaid” and was charmed by the anecdote about the kid who in a game of Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs asked, in all sincerity, “Where do the Mermaids stand?” (pg.73) If you’re familiar with this camp game you may know that, unfortunately, there are no "Mermaids" on the team roster. If you haven’t had the pleasure of charging forth in a game of Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs, here’s a brief tutorial to help teach you and your friends to play.


(Look for me in Central Park this weekend, with my arms raised overhead, playing the part of a 5-foot-2 giant!)

But back to “The Mermaid”… Being the seasoned father that Fulghum is, instead of telling this poor young soul that Mermaids do not exist in the game of GWD, he took her hand and answered, “The Mermaid stands right here by the King of the Sea!” (pg. 74).

This anecdote speaks to our feelings of (un)belonging, of knowing that we are different and embracing those traits that make us unique. Fortunately for thegirl in Fulghum’s story, she is greeted by an authority figure who recognizes her unique identity, but also her desire to participate. He embraces both by offering her a place at his side.
For the full excerpt from Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, see: “The Mermaid.”
Have you ever felt like the "Mermaid" in the group? When was the last time that you stood up for your differences? Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna

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