Humans are designed for connection. The need to belong is fundamental. All of us—adults as well as children—yearn to be liked, accepted and appreciated. How do we help our children learn to balance that desire for inclusion with the equally important need to own their uniqueness?
Seaver the Weaver written by Paul Czajak and illustrated by the Brothers Hilts offers a great example. Seaver, the main character, is an orb spider who can’t or won’t follow the traditional round web patterns of his fellow orb spiders. Round webs are not for him. Oh no! Seaver weaves by starlight and this sparkling illumination inspires his creativity. He spins squares, triangles, and hexagons.
In the morning his efforts are revealed to his companions. They are outraged by his divergence from the traditional orb weaver patterns. The group threatens to ostracize Seaver. He’s torn between his need for acceptance and his pride in creation, not to mention the tasty morsels each of his creations manages to capture. Seaver resolves to change his independent ways. He agrees to conform after he savors his tasty meal.
Ultimately, hunger convinces the other orb weavers that they should copy Seaver’s designs. Instead of an outcast, Seaver has become a leader! His persistence and belief in himself wins over the others.
AQ* Spotlight: Seaver the Weaver offers a teachable moment for all kids but especially for adoptees. Our kids often find themselves singled out for being different —because they were adopted, or are a different race from their parents, or a different ethnicity, etc. This story segues easily into a discussion of how their differences can cause them to be isolated, humiliated or dismissed.
Ask them how “a” child might who experiences similar situations might feel. Then ask how they might handle it. Help them to see how Seaver’s differences enriched his world. But first he confronted social challenges that hurt. Ultimately, he “wins” and so can our kids.
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AQ* (Adoption-attunement Quotient)