A while back, a long while back, a particular post of a particular blogger on her particular blog was highlighted on a particular “Hey! Look At This Blogger!” kind of page. (Can you tell I’m trying to be particularly vague here?)
I read her particular post and it’s been gnawing at me ever since.
The post was singled out as being particularly good. And it was. I suppose. But the subject matter still has my protective, Mama Bear gene twisted in knots.
I wanted to comment the day I read the post. But I couldn’t. Emotions were too strong to comment. I was afraid I’d come across too judgemental. (Awww, who am I kidding? Too judgemental? Is there ever an acceptable amount of judgement?)
She was writing of a particular holiday. Her very young son’s class was having a party to celebrate by wearing their costumes. He wanted to be a female character from a certain cartoon. Embracing his love of the character, she helped create the perfect female costume for her son to wear.
(Now you’re going to have to trust me on this because I’m not going to send you a link to the post. Mostly, because I’m a chicken and I don’t want to hurt her feelings. I’m hoping she never sees this post. So, you “Hey! Look At This Blogger!” editors? Go away. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.)
In her struggle to honor her son’s costume choice she went above and beyond to encourage his individuality. And I do mean, above and beyond. To the point when, as the event drew closer and he began showing great reluctance to wearing his costume, she pushed and encouraged him to march to the beat of his own (which began to sound like her own) drum.
The playground can be a horrible place. Real life, outside the comfort of your color-blind-gender-blind-we-all-bleed-poop-put-on-our-pants-one-leg-at-a-time living room, can be a horrible place. Kids can be mean. Kids can be, dare I say, judgemental.
Should a 6-year-old boy go to school dressed as a girl?
Yes. If that’s truly what my child wanted to dress as for a certain holiday, I’d let him. Nay-sayers be damned. I’d stick by my son, too.
If he showed the slightest sign of reluctance, I’d hightail it to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night to find a replacement. I would not, could not push him to continue with his original plan.
One six-year-old is not going to change the dynamics of playground teasing. Teasing that could follow him for the rest of his life. If he was wise enough to recognize this? I’d honor that request in a heartbeat.
She didn’t. She proudly pushed him to show up in his first choice costume. And I’m glad she is so open-minded. I’m glad she’s teaching her child to follow a path with heart.
But at what point do we, as parents, back off and allow our children to push their own agendas, at their own pace? Encouraging our children to “do the right thing” is one thing. Encouraging them to express their individuality at the risk of relentless teasing at the tender age of six is another.
(Climbing off my high horse, now.
And apologizing in advance to all and any I may offend.)