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Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.

No, biting nails is not a quirky habit, but certainly on of the most annoying ones.

I’m having trouble with this and may have to think about what to say as I write. I looked up “quirky” to see if that inspired me — didn’t quite do it. I found this quote which comes closer to my idea of the word, “quirky is about being an offbeat and unexpected individual who knows where they stand in the world.”

My post is a bit off-topic, but one of the reasons I enjoyed teaching middle school children is because many of them are quirky. Now, these guys don’t really know where they stand in the world yet, but they put a lot of effort into being themselves, or trying on different personas in order to figure out who they are. One day they’re children, and the next day they’re full-fledged teenagers. You can see them struggle with different “styles” or “affectations” or “causes”, hoping to find what fits best. They’re quirky because they are unexpected and act in surprising ways. As a teacher or parent, it’s best to let they try different things and ways of thinking in a safe environment with gentle boundaries. (But boundaries nevertheless — they need validation or conversation.)

I’ve been privileged to follow the careers of some of the gifted children I taught, and they didn’t know it at the time, but many have not changed that much. They still have many of the characteristics that made them interesting individuals in middle school, except they have more knowledge and experience now, and hopefully more self-confidence. Some haven’t made it yet.

The struggle is to give them enough safe space to experiment with their ideas of themselves and the outside world, and open ears and minds to hear and respond to what they saying. They want the reaction of others, especially their peers, and even though they treat adults like intruders from another planet, they seek their “input” and validation, too. A strong safety net of caring parents and teachers is essential, but one the gives them enough independence to tumble into the net occasionally.

This quirkiness is the essence of growing. We do it throughout our lives as we seek more self-knowledge. I, life most everyone, am constantly changing by choice or desire, and along with that comes some experimentation with a different “me”, until I get it right — for a while.

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