Last month I posted some photos of my daughter’s semi-formal attire, which was definitely not “regular.” She wanted to go to her first semi-formal dance as Big Bird, so we put together a dress with feathers and added coordinating accessories. It was interesting to drop her off and see the reactions of the other kids (and parents). Almost everyone got a kick out of it and several of the kids even wanted to get their picture taken with her. (I guess the feathered headband was just Vegas enough to make a great photo op at their casino-themed dance.)
At the dance, one girl told my daughter, “My mom would never let me wear that.” That really struck me. We made sure to follow the dress code, so the dress length and design were within the school’s guidelines. I can’t think of any reason that someone wouldn’t allow their daughter to go to a dance in a bright yellow dress and orange sneakers…except that she stood out (pretty dramatically) from everyone else.
You know how parents are always saying they know what’s best for their kids? I realized a while ago that I honestly don’t always know. I have my own ideas about things, my own taste and opinions, and every decision I make on their behalf is made through my eyes, even when I try to keep their best interests in mind. In this case, I’m pretty sure that this is the right thing to do, to support my daughter as she chooses to be different and to stand out. But I’m absolutely sure that making her wear what I like because I’m embarrassed by her choices would be the wrong thing to do. Why limit her to my sense of fashion or cripple her with my anxieties?
What if you make your kids live up to your expectations and they are capable of going much higher? What if trying to do someone else’s best makes you miss out on an extraordinary best that is yours alone? Consider that you have a chance to be extraordinary. What would that mean to you?
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