This morning we had a bit of an after-school-special play out in the foyer of our house.
“Tristan,” I asked, “Do you want to wear daddy’s (coveted, both boys fight over it) Tripadvisor toque this morning?”
“No, I can’t wear that one again because my friends don’t like it.”
Ugh. And so it begins. I knew this would happen one day… but to my little boy now? At four years old? In kindergarten?
I took a deep breath and tried to gather my thoughts. Tried to figure out what words to say to a little boy who has just embarked on this brand new adventure and just wants to have fun and be liked.
Because, yes, I know, right now we are only talking about toques. But I want him to be aware of his own self and to trust his own judgement so that later on when the debate has moved on from toques and toys and onto girls and drugs and alcohol… Well it’s then that I REALLY want him to confidently make his own healthy decisions, regardless of the paths his peers may take.
I understand the desire to fit in and be part of the group. But oh, how I want him to be happy in his own skin and to make his own choices and listen to his own heart.
“Tristan,” I replied. “You loved this hat, buddy. Do you still like it?”
“Yes, but my friends only like my dinosaur toque.”
I went on to explain how what really mattered was what HE thought – if HE likes the hat, than we should wear it. It’s ok to like different things from our friends.
In the end he chose the dino hat, but at least we had the conversation. I hope that the seed that I planted will grow and give him confidence to just. be. himself.
How do YOU encourage your child to be his/herself?