I first heard this quote in a college literature class and liked it because I've always been the person following a different drummer. For as long as I can remember, I have been considered weird by my peers. As a kid growing up, I was always the kid who didn't get in trouble at school, always had my homework completed, and always knew the answer to the teacher's question. At home I didn't argue with my parents, always did what I was told, and always ate whatever I was served without question, etc. If it was expected of me by an adult, than I did it. When it came to friends I was very selective in school. Or maybe it was the few friends that I did have were very tolerant of me. I was the kid that didn't sneak out of the house, wouldn't try cigarettes, wouldn't try pot or any other drugs (and I graduated high school in 1976), didn't drink, and didn't sleep around. Yes, I was the extremely boring kid that most people didn't really care to hang with.
As I read back all of these attributes that I just said are weird, I am amazed that these same attributes are ones that I wish for my own teens to have and follow today. But at the time and place that I was at, (San Antonio, Texas; 1970's; middle class; Anglo) these were not the norm nor were they accepted. When I think back on it now I wonder how everyone became so liberal in the "Bible Belt" no less.
It wasn't until I studied this quote in college that I felt better about myself. Be true to yourself. If you are different, that is good. Everyone is unique. Thoreau does not just give advice to the individual about his uniqueness, and daring to be different; he is also warning society to stop insisting on conformity, because "those who march to a different drummer" may end up making the most valuable contributions to humanity as a whole. Wow. If I had only known that as a teen it sure would have made my life better.
Time to relate this to David Archuleta. He really does march to a different drummer. He is a young man of high morals who is not afraid to stick to them even when most in the entertainment industry are throwing morals and values out the window. Sleazy music, sleazy videos, sleazy clothes, foul language, sex everywhere. But this is not the case with David. You never hear that David used bad language. He sings songs which have a positive message. He dresses conservatively and appreciates when girls do the same. "Modest is hottest." He even proudly proclaims that he is 19 and has not kissed a girl because he has not found the one that he has a special connection with, and really doesn't plan to look for her right now.
"You have to be different from the world to make a difference in the world." David sent this inspirational tweet out to his followers.
David wishes to make a difference in the world. I'm sure that he knows that he can't fix the world's problems all by himself but he can help a few people at a time. That's really all that any of us can do, help a few people at a time. If enough of us work together, maybe we can have a greater impact. Maybe we can fix some of those problems. Maybe if we stop watching trash and promoting trash that the so-called stars bring to us, we could bring about a greater change in this world than we could ever "Imagine".