“One size fits all” is one of the most ridiculous marketing techniques of all time. In absolutely no area of life does one size EVER fit all. The concept doesn’t even make sense. If I buy a one size fits all t-shirt for each of my four kids it is either going to be to short for Markie or too long for Misty. And those are just my four kids out of the millions of people in the world. That’s also not accounting for taste. None of my four children dresses alike, so if Mom suddenly presented them all with identical t-shirts they might wear them for about five minutes while we were all together, just to patronize me. After that - Salvation Army here we come! One year I made matching sweatshirts for us to wear for Christmas. If you know me, you know I have exactly zero ability to craft, but I worked with a teacher friend of mine and decorated the sweatshirts. Pretty much they wore those bad boys for pictures and that was it. I have to admit, I look back now and wonder, “WHAT was I thinking?” But, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
One size most certainly does not fit all in other areas of life, either, and I don’t think it is supposed to. I treasure the fact every individual is unique in appearance, personality, tastes and life experience. We are strange in the United States, because we proclaim to appreciate concepts like rugged individualism yet for the most part, don’t particularly like people who vary too much from the norm. Usually they are considered weird.
I have spent most of my working life supporting young people with special needs. One of the parts of my job which has challenged me at times is the part where I have to try to teach them to “fit” into society. Because when you really get to know an individual with autism or some other disability you find a person who has a unique outlook on the world with quirks which can actually be charming when you understand them. But they can be considered weird if you don’t, and one of the deepest yearnings teenagers have is to fit in. So we work at cloaking or overcoming quirks so these very special individuals fit into society. And there have been many times that has made me feel very sad, because in order to help them to a certain extent I have to encourage them to deny who they are. And it feels like a I am robbing them of their personalities. Rugged individualism, in reality, is frowned upon as a lifestyle and I think that limits us as individuals and as a collective society.
My Masters Degree is in Communications with a concentration in leadership. And one of the basic principles which was driven home to me was the FACT every organization needs a variety of individual personalities on the their leadership team. Which means everyone will not always agree about everything - AND THAT IS GOOD! Differences of opinions are good, because they lead to fresh ideas and new ways of approaching old problems. One time I was trying to help the leader of an organization see why his organization constantly struggled. There were several reasons involved, but from a leadership perspective one of the biggest red flags was the entire board of directors gave the green light to every single project the person in charge presented to them. As I worked through a communication audit I learned every single person who had been disagreeable on the board had been either asked to leave or forced off some other way. The leader didn’t want to change that because he mistakenly believed nothing could be accomplished if people directing the organization had disagreements. That is a classic mistake people in charge can make. But the end result of that is stagnation - nothing fresh, nothing new and no way for anything fresh or new to happen, because one person is driving all the ideas and plans. God made us different for a reason. He could have made us Lemmings if He wanted to, but He didn’t.
We are pretty small right now at The Torch. Sarah and Kelly and I have been pretty much making the early decisions after tons and tons and tons of prayer. We do have a good diversity of experiences between the three of us and there have been many disagreements, but we are all capable of listening to dissenting opinions and working hard to figure out the best way to accomplish what we feel God wants us to do. But we are also aware we will be expanding our Board. We need people with a variety of ideas and life experiences and even quirky personalities to help us see all the possibilities for The Torch.
Every individual we will minister to will be different and we will be far more effective if we can see unique ways to reach them all. There is no one size fits all around The Torch. It’s more like - come just as you are and help us to see things the very unique and special way you do. Diversity and creativity are welcome here!