What a contradiction already! Conform but don’t? Yes I know son, just hear me out first…
Yesterday we went to a tangihanga (funeral to translate in simple terms), a relation on your Papa’s side. As always, it’s an honour to be part of the celebration of the end of someone’s life, albeit a life that ended too soon. Cherish these gatherings son, make the most of the time catching up with your relations. You never know when you may not see someone again.
Anyway, while we were there, I noticed many people who were now part of a new whānau/family of their own. Most people know them as a gang, but members may call it a whānau – anyway, call it what you want. Most people are just looking for a sense of belonging son. Somewhere that they fit in, where they feel like they are part of something. However, this isn’t always positive.
You don’t have to conform to someone else’s ideals or beliefs son. Don’t follow the pack, always question why and ask yourself if it feels right within you. Who cares if you’re standing there on your own – it doesn’t matter! If you feel comfortable and on your own so be it. I remember being in high school and watching groups of girls doing something and thinking, ‘hmm I don’t necessarily agree with that so I won’t go along’. When I think about that now, I was glad I had the sense to do that and not go with the pack. You can create your own sense of direction based on your beliefs and values, but remember, you will always ‘fit in’ with us – your whānau, your family. We are 100% here for you all the time, no matter what. Come to the light Luke… Couldn’t help that one son!
Ok now to my contradiction and back to our time away at the tangi. In our Māori world, sometimes we have to conform. We call it tikanga and kawa – protocols or ways of acting you could say. This is where there are times when it is ‘tika’ or right to confirm, to follow the tikanga. Be respectful during speeches, keep your body low when moving in front of others and so on. This is what we were working on yesterday at the tangi son, not that you will remember! Loved it how in the end you were the one telling me what to do, by putting your finger up to your mouth and saying ‘sshshh’! Tika tāu – right you are my son.
So yes, there are times when I say throw out the rulebook, don’t conform. But remember when you need to.