Sheeping it…..

by Rod Smith

ImageApart from thinking “outside of the box,” my challenge, to myself, my sons, and to my students of all ages, is to think alone.

Yes. Think alone.

Have thoughts, plans, aspirations, that are not determined or shaped by commercials, fads, friends, or even by immediate and extended family. 

Tough? O course.

Liberating? Yes.

I encounter many people, especially teenagers, who appear somewhat terrified to allow an independent thought to cross their beautiful minds.

The joy of owning and enjoying their own thoughts, of exploring unique possibilities within their own heads – before external wet-blankets, naysayers, derail any semblance thinking alone – it appears, will not be theirs.

The fear, fear of standing out, of being different, even thinking differently, cripples.    

Speaker, writer Seth Godin used the term “sheepwalking” in his best seller entitled Tribes to describe mindless following.

We’ve extended his metaphor in my family and my classrooms and talk about:

“sheep-thinking” (the inability to have an original or contrary thought, or to be too afraid to express one if it reared its head),

“sheep-talking” (to sound just like everyone else sounds),

“sheep-feeling” (to feel what everyone else feels),

or simply, to catch it all, we might say we recognize that “sheeping” is happening.

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