This morning, as I was getting the kids ready for school, my eight year old son Ewan couldn’t find his gloves (we think he left them in mom’s car, and she had left for work).
So, he dug into the hat and gloves pile and found his mom’s winter gloves. “I’ll wear these pink ones,” he declared.
“What if your friends make fun of you?” I asked him, remembering how his friends had ridiculed him earlier this year for wearing a raincoat that ‘wasn’t a boy’s colour’.
“I don’t care,” was Ewan’s response. “I’ll just tell them colours are for everyone, and to wear what makes you happy, not what your friends tell you.”
At that moment, my heart melted, and I couldn’t have been prouder of our son.
As a parent, it was validation, if you like, of the way my wife and I are trying to raise our kids.
To be accepting of others and their choices. To be kind to all, even when kindness isn’t returned. To stand on your own.
Most of all, to be the person you want to be, and not be forced into being someone you’re not, and never can be.
It was a humbling moment, and one that made me realize we can learn so much from children, and not just our own.
The World Through Innocent Eyes
I’ve spoken on here before about us being the creators of hate. How we, as adults, are the ones that shape the way our kids live, and think, and act.
And it’s true. I challenge you to find any kid that hasn’t had a parental viewpoint forced upon them to display bigotry in any form – though I won’t hold my breath.
In the toxic environment we live in today, where hateful rhetoric and ignorance are used as politicized weapons, we need the innocence of children even more.
The kind of innocence that doesn’t see colour as black and white (no pun intended).
That doesn’t see sexual preference as something to try and “straighten out” as opposed to accepting and encouraging.
That doesn’t see religion as the only way to be a good person, as opposed to actually being a good person and not using religion to persecute those who don’t believe.
That doesn’t see race through the eyes of hatred, but sees it through the eyes of someone different and yet not.
Maybe then, we wouldn’t be so damn tired all the time from the energy exerted into countering shit that should never need to be countered in the first place.
My son has the right idea. So do many other kids like him.
Who knows – maybe this time next century people will look back on this time and ask what the fuck were we playing at.
We can but hope.
In the meantime, I’m going to wait until my son comes home from school, and enjoy being around human beings that truly care for all.