Tip #6 for Raising a Potential Thiel Fellow: Go Against the Grain

one bird facing three birds facing left - go against the grain lisa nalbone

Link to the beginning of the series here.

Go against the grain and be thick-skinned.

Be ready to explain and defend yourself and your kid, diplomatically and repeatedly.

Be brave and confident when you need to do things that are different from the norm, but right for you and your child.

Relax. Let your child be different.

You are modeling courage, resisting peer pressure,  and strength in your convictions.

It might be hard. Tedious.  Frustrating.

So many folks, related or not, feel the need to challenge your child,  or your educational and parenting choices if they don’t match their expectations.  It’s kind of like unwanted pregnancy advice.

What can you do to make it easier?

Compassionate listening helps. So often the critical person is coming from a place of fear that THEY are somehow wrong. We have so much emotional investment in our kids and our choices.

Deflect with questions about their concerns and how they define success for their child.

Come up with a brief, positive response that highlights  and affirms your child and choices, without condemning others. A ready soundbite  lets you move on peacefully rather than arguing  with someone who really doesn’t want to discuss.


We had NO TV, by choice, until we inherited one when my dad passed away when Dale was 12.  Many people were defensive and offensive.  It was constant. But worth it!

We kept swimming upstream in education: when we pulled Dale out for travel, when we pulled him out to try a private school, when we pulled him out to homeschool. And then, gasp,  unschool.  Since I was a teacher, like Lucy, I had a LOT of ‘splainin’ to do.

I smiled, sometimes with gritted teeth, and said, “We are learning a lot and doing what is best for Dale. What is working for your child?”

Get started:

  • Identify the areas where you need to give your child or yourself permission to be different.
  • Breathe deeply. Listen. Learn more about your options. Try NVC.
  • Craft a statement and practice it. Have a suggestion for a resource ready if someone wants to engage.

Good luck!  Have you had the experience of being different? Having to go against the grain to do what is  best for  you?  For your child?  I’d love to hear  about your experience or your feedback  in the comments.  Lisa

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