Acceptance is one of the greatest things a parent can give their children. Pennsylvania mother Devon Berryann understands this, but also knows that sometimes being an accepting parent isn't enough — society must also be accepting.
On this topic, Berryann wrote a heartfelt post on Facebook about her 6-year-old son, Silas, who likes wearing nail polish and tutus. She explains that whether her child is going through a phase or not, she has always accepted him for who he is and allowed him to express himself. However, she recently debated making him take off the clothes after he was bullied at school to prevent further conflict.
In her Facebook post, she further describes the situation.
"My 6-year-old son likes to wear nail polish," she wrote in the caption of her Facebook post. "He likes to wear girls' clothes and tutus. He tells me about the boys he likes at school. He says he will marry them and adopt babies. Maybe he will outgrow it. Maybe not. I love and accept him for who he is. I always thought that doing that would protect him from the pain of hurtful words and bullies, and I didn't worry. A couple days ago he came home and told me again about kids teasing him at school for his nail polish, and for the first time ever I considered talking him into taking it off. Into hiding that part of himself. Because for the first time ever I was scared that he would be gunned down one night when he was out having a good time with his friends."
"In that moment I was so terrified that I wondered if it would be better to stop appeasing him."
After grappling with the decision, Berryann wrote how it would be just as harmful for her son to hide a part of himself as it would be for him to be bullied for who he is. Berryann also urged society to be more accepting and loving, and to be less afraid.
"Then I remembered all the reasons I let him be who he wants. Because it makes him happy. Because nothing hurts more than seeing your child truly sad. Because pretending to be someone you're not to please other people only leads to self-loathing. To depression and to suicide. And that too made me afraid. Why do I have to fear for him because of what he likes and who he cares about? Aren't we past all this yet? I want this world to change. To be better for him. To DESERVE him. Because he is a wonderful, amazing person. He wants to be president. He thinks he is a ninja. He listens when you explain things and remembers it forever. He notices when you're sad and tries to cheer you up. He has a light about him that just can't be put out, no matter how hard some people have tried. As scared as I am, I know that this world is not going to change with more fear. It has plenty of that. What it needs is more love and acceptance. So yesterday, we went out and bought more nail polish, and today we wore tutus."
"So here he is world. See my boy for the amazing person he is. Show him love. Show him acceptance. Help us change the world into one that deserves him."
Since being posted June 15, Berryann's post has been shared over 9,000 times, with many Facebook users expressing their appreciation for her candor. One person wrote, "I don't have words to express how incredible this is, how incredible you are for being this strong for him. Whoever he grows up to be, the two of you will be able to look back and see that you support[ed] him no matter what, Thank you, Devon."
Another Facebook user agreed with Berryann about spreading more love, "Absolutely beautiful! He is such an awesome little boy and you are such a wonderful mother! More love is exactly what we need!!!"
Everyone is different. Some people like tutus, while others like baggy pants or floral skirts. Some like nail polish while others like cards. Berryann's post calls for us to to accept this. To be able to express who you are, without ridicule or hate, is something everyone should be able to do. And it all begins with love.
A Plus has reached out to Berryann for comment.