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Posts Tagged ‘portrait of an adoption’

Embrace

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January 6th, 2011 Posted 12:08 pm

Our family isn’t typical…

My boys dance.  Eric guest performs. Jordan studied for 7 years. Alek still does. Most recently, he appeared as Harlequin in our local production of the Nutcracker.  He’s very talented and we’re very proud of him. They began dancing when they were 4 and have worked hard at one of the best studios in the Midwest.  When Ravynn turned 4, the boys came to me concerned. She wanted to take ballet, too, but they worried that it was only for boys [never mind that their classes had always been full of girls].  They were incredibly pleased when we bought a tiny pair of pink ballet shoes.  It wasn’t until a minor incident in 4th grade when they felt the bullying effects of being different.  A very kind teacher explained what exactly was the problem with the phrase ‘ballerina boy’ and it mostly ended. There are still comments flung around, but Alek who’s 12 and in 7th grade is strong and ignores them. 

Our family is goth.  Locally, we’re semi-famous for it, but you may have noticed from other comments or photos or even the About page associated with this blog.  Eric and I embrace being different, but each of the kids have at points heard rumors or fielded snotty comments based on how we look or dress.  It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about stereotypes and prejudice and about not having to conform to make other people happy.  For the most part they get it, but I understand [having been a 10 year old girl once upon a time] that there is still a sting involved.  I hate that.  At the same time they love when their friends think we’re cool because of the way we dress or the music we listen to.  I kinda like being famous at the elementary school, but not to the detriment of my kids.

When I read news stories about bullied kids or hear about it from fellow moms, my heart aches.  No child should have an unhappy childhood.  I mean there are some situations that cannot be avoided and the pain of them cannot be minimized, but… if the pain is caused by other kids or adults being hateful and unaccepting.  Well, the simple fact is that should be easy to change.

Several weeks ago, a Facebook post brought my attention to the blog, Portrait of an Adoption. Young Katie was being teased for wanting to carry a Star Wars water bottle to school.  Three cheers for social networking.  Geek Girls came out in force to support Katie. As I understand, Geeks, Nerds, and Dorks all came out to support her and give her strength.  I think this is awesome!  It’s what I’ve tried to teach my own kids.  Differences should be Celebrated. Sometimes they are, as with Katie’s situation.

Checking on Portrait of an Adoption, I read the story of author Cheryl Kilodavis and her book My Princess Boy. Her website explains it as:

My Princess Boy is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. It tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink. It is designed to start and continue a dialogue about unconditional friendship and teaches children — and adults — how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look.

The response she is getting isn’t near as positive as Katie’s mother found for her.  Now, it isn’t all negative and maybe I”m experiencing emotional reactions to the negative comments that I do see.  I’ve been in the same place. People have, over the years, explained to me that it’s not ‘normal’ for boys to study dance or to have long hair [Eric does and Alek did until he cut and donated it in the summer of 2009]; I’ve been told that it’s not normal for them to do these things because society believes them to be ‘for girls’.  Somehow along the line it became acceptable for girls to want to do ‘boy things’, yet not for boys to want to do ‘girl things’.  I suggest we let kids do kid things and leave it at that.

I’ve fought the good fight for my kids. Cheryl is fighting for hers.

I encourage you to honor acceptance for everyone and embrace diversity in your own life today.

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