There's a scene in the movie Apollo 13 where the engineers in Houston had to figure out how to make a square air filter fit into a round hole so they can filter the air for the astronauts in the damaged capsule. The end result wasn't pretty. It was a taped up, cut up air filter that finally bought those astronauts some time. It worked, but not as well as an air filter that had been designed to fit that hole.
I often look at my younger daughter, and I see a square peg. Unfortunately, most of the holes the world wants her to fit in are round. My daughter simply marches to the beat of her own drum. She's a one-man band playing music that the rest of us don't even hear. And sometimes I wish she would fit into that round hole. I wish that she was just a little bit more like the other girls her age. I wish that the road you walk when your beat is different was just a little easier.
And I wonder just how much I should push her to conform -- just a little. I wonder just how much I should cut and tape that square peg so it just might fit in one of those round holes. It's not because it would make my life easier (although it would). It's because I can sometimes see the pain that following her own drum can cause because people around her don't understand. It's because I want to protect her from that.
And then she does something amazing. She stands up to injustice. She fights a fight that no one else will fight. She offers compassion to someone that no one else even noticed. She flings herself into living life with abandon. She brings up a perspective that no one else had even thought about.
That's when I know. I know that no amount of snipping or taping, shaping or molding that I can do to her square peg will ever make her fit into a round hole. All it will do is make her a miserable, taped up, out of shape mess. Because God didn't make her to fit a round hole. He made her to fit a square one -- a space in this universe that He designed just for her.
In those moments when I'm tempted to make my child march to the beat of my drum, I forget that it's not my drum she needs to follow -- it's God's. And the drumbeat He has for her is oh so different from the one He has for me.
So, as I parent this child through the sometimes turbulent waters of being a tween, I'm reminded that I should stop and listen for the beat of her drum -- because that's the beat she needs to follow.