What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.
Kids are attracted to specific things. It doesn't matter how young they are, they know what they like. Take 3-year-old Hendrick from Michigan who has been on a quest to get a pair of purple glasses for awhile.
Hendrick's mother, Erin Joy Farias, wrote a touching Facebook post about her struggle to give into his request. Farias wasn't wary because of gender stereotypes, but for fear Hendrick would be teased by other kids for having "girl" glasses.
When Hendrick needed a new pair of glasses, Farias came to a realization.
She realized that she had become part of the problem.
This is Hendrick. He is 3 years old and his favorite color is purple. When he first needed glasses at almost 2 years old, I chose a dark blue boyish frame. When he outgrew those, he was adamant that he wanted purple. I have always been progressive and proactive about avoiding gender stereotypes. His favorite toy for about a year was a doll stroller (that he and his twin brother would take turns pushing each other around in). I was so angry when a friend asked, "Why would you let them play with a girl toy?" Yet I was thrown off when he asked for purple glasses. I didn't want him to be teased. And I kept pointing to the green ones asking, "Don't you like the green ones?" And here I was, the mom who passionately wants her sons to be who they are- telling my son which glasses he should love. I ordered him the green glasses. But he would not let go of his longing for purple ones. Sometimes I would put them on his sweet sticky face and he would say, "I want purple ones Mom." So when his green ones became scratched beyond recognition, I told him we would get some new ones. He insisted again, "I want purple ones." It didn't bother me that he wanted purple glasses. But it did bother me to imagine other kids in his class picking on him for wearing "girl" glasses. Perhaps if we all let our children choose to love what they love, pink or purple would just be other beautiful colors not associated with a gender. I became another person contributing to the problem of gender stereotypes when I essentially made my son choose green glasses. When his new purple glasses arrived and I presented them to my sweet boy (seconds before I took this photo), he squealed with the purest joy. His smile radiated confidence. I'm sorry for trying to persuade you to not love what you love, Hendrick. Your smile is enough. May the world embrace my sweet, purple loving wonder of a boy- exactly as he is.
Hendrick got his purple glasses and an open apology from his mother on Facebook. In the note, Farias concludes that she hopes pink and purple could just be seen as beautiful colors not associated with gender. She also hopes the world shows love to Hendrick for exactly who he is.
Farias's letter has received a positive reaction online. One Facebook commenter wrote, "Beautifully said! In the end, it's his smile and happiness that truly matters! You're a great mom."
Farias's post highlights that if you are scared to let your kids be who they are for fear of other people's reactions, you may think you're improving the situation in one manner, but you're still contributing to a larger problem.
Letting your kids be who they are is one of the best things you can give them.
(H/T: Huffington Post)