When I was a child and moody adolescent and really needed something, I found the worst thing I could say to my mother in mitigation of whatever the particular 'want' was were the words 'But everybody else has it'. This always brought forth the reply [after of course the standard 'If everybody else put their head in the fire would you?' We had coal fires then of course]
Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone*
This of course refers to the story of Daniel and the lions' den
My mother, despite being a Christian Socialist, thought it terribly common to look like everyone else/join in the latest 'craze' which to a child/moody adolescent is of course the most important thing in their world.
Although my mother most definitely never watched anything that the Monty Python team produced, I was reminded of her 'quotes' when the Life of Brian hit the big screen in the late 1970s. One scene has Brian hounded by followers who believe he is the true messiah and ask him to give them guidance. He tells them not to follow him and that they should make up their own minds because 'You are all individuals'. To which they reply in chorus 'We are all individuals'. I often think of this scene when someone quotes the Daily Fail as the source for their political/sociological views, wondering why that individual cannot think for him/herself rather than follow a possibly false messiah?
[This in turn always reminds me of the wonderful scene in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times when Chaplin's character of the factory worker unwittingly leads a revolutionary demonstration and is arrested for his part in it] People seem to need a leader?
I often thought about the phrase as I got older and decided that perhaps my mother had a different interpretation to mine. To me 'Daring to be a Daniel' is really, as the story of Daniel exemplifies, a question of standing up for what one believes to be right in the face of opposition. I am not sure if I am the stuff from which martyrs are made, but as I get older I find it more and more difficult to keep quiet about social injustices and tend to take up causes [you may have noticed!]
In 2005 the lovely Tony Benn, definitely one of my political heroes, published a book called Dare to be a Daniel: Then and Now which somehow backs up my interpretation of the phrase.
So today's message [!]: Think for yourself and always stand up for the causes in which you believe!
The inspiration for this blog came from the photograph above which I took on Mother's Day this year. Middle Son took me to a plant nursery to choose some plants for Other Half to plant in our garden [!] and this perky little plant amongst all the rows of others appealed to me.