Green River Star -

Western Wyoming Community College 

Lifelong learning: Maintaining a sense of individuality


October 11, 2017

I recently watched an old video clip on YouTube, from the TV show “Candid Camera.” In case you are not familiar with “Candid Camera,” it aired from 1960 to 1976, and secretly videotaped people in situations where they were (safely) pranked or involved in a funny situation, set up to get their reactions.

This particular episode showed an elevator prank. Three members of the “Candid Camera” staff would enter an elevator after an unsuspecting “victim” had already entered.

The staff members did not speak when entering but instead, they all just turned to face the rear of the elevator. The poor person facing the front immediately noticed that these people were all facing the “wrong” way.

Instead of continuing to face the front where the elevator doors would open, or speaking up and ask what they were doing, he/she would “join the crowd” and “go with the flow” and turn to the rear. It’s a very funny clip, but it shows something very real. It shows conformity in a funny situation.

Aren’t many of us like that in real life? Sometimes we don’t want to “buck the system” or look foolish, especially if everyone else is “doing it”, so we go with the majority.

In society people laugh or make fun of those who do their own thing. They are called out as being weird or different, and many times they are bullied. As for me, I will continue to maintain my individuality.

I am not saying that I am a rule breaker, -or advocating it in any way-what I am saying, is that it’s ok to ask a question. Asking questions should not make us feel “stupid”, and as a lifelong learner, I believe 100 percent in asking questions, especially when you don’t understand something.

I’m proud to say I’m different and unique. Even though I have my doctorate degree and I’m a college administrator, I’m a 51-year-old tomboy.

I am truly most comfortable in my sweats, T-shirt and tennis shoes.

I’m not fancy, I’m not frilly, I’m not girlie.

So call me different. I’m OK with that because I am real. I’m a mom, a good friend and a hard worker. With me what you see is truly what you get. I enjoy people and will always give my best to everyone.

This is an absolute in my family. I always let my small children pick out their own clothes, even if they don’t match, oh well.

I explain what matches and what they might want to look for, but I don’t get hung up on it, if they really want to wear stripes and polka dots together.

One of my teenagers likes her hair colored purple, blue, green or red, so it always is a color and it is beautiful.

I saw a commercial on TV that reminded us all that there are 88 keys on a piano and that they are all different, but when they work together in unison, they can create beautiful things. The big message I got out of this is that not everyone needs to be the same, react the same, think the same, or do the same in order to be right and good.

I think, especially in society today, we need to teach our children that they should celebrate and focus on what unites us as people, rather than what our differences may be.

It’s important to be an individual with unique views and ideas, opinions and strengths.

It’s important to be able to bring all of this to the collective table or group, because if we combine all of these unique traits, the final product can be amazing music to the ears.

Dr. Suess says it best when he says, “You have to be odd, to be No. 1.”


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