I have some amazing parents in my life. Mine are the tops. But as well as the people that built me into the man I am today, I am inspired every single day by the fantastic parenting that my friends and family do – passionately ensuring that their offspring become the kind of people that this world needs for the future. Being joyous in their children’s individuality and raising them with courage and boundless love. Teaching them that It’s not only ok to be different – its fantastic to be different.
It is such an important lesson – to be yourself and accept everyone else’s selves as well. It’s something us adults need to be reminded of from time to time.
So this post looks at some of what my wife and I hope to inspire in our son Toby – making sure that he can fully celebrate everyone’s unique qualities, including his own.
We live in a world where everything happens so fast, pictures transcend their cameras and are shared with the world in a click of the button. Son, don’t expect things to come easily to you. Value the hard work necessary to fulfil your achievements. (If a career in acting taught me anything, it’s that you have to work hard!) Be patient – it will happen
We want you to live in a world where it is ok for you to be YOU. Choose your friends based on who it makes you happy to be around – don’t be scared of other’s differences.We want you to care. Care about others, care about the world that you live in and care enough in a passionate way, to make a difference, making your stamp on this crazy world.
Know independence – lead your own path in the world – don’t be led at a cost to your own growth. Know your own mind – make decisions and stand by them. But we will always be here for you to fall back on, with no judgement – just love.
Be led by what makes you happy – as long as it doesn’t hurt people in the process, why shouldn’t you chase happiness? We know that you will make every effort to instil happiness in others – to positively impact the lives of your family and friends. You bring a smile to our faces everyday – this is a great thing to achieve.
We see so much disrespect, it’s sometimes hard to see past it – to the small differences that a single person can make. Treat possessions with respect, cherish them and care for them – you are lucky to have them. Treat people with respect – listen to them, value their time and energy. Respect yourself – treat yourself like the treasure that you are – you will always be the best thing that we ever did, our greatest achievement.
It’s ok to be different
Son, you are an individual. A single entity that is unlike anyone else. Celebrate what makes you, you and what makes others, them. Surround yourself with different people, they make you better. This richer life experience will give you a wider field of vision from which to see the world.
Enjoy life, it is a precious, precious thing.
If we as parents can lead by example and help him find his way, then our job is done.
Tomorrow our family are all wearing odd socks in a celebration of #itsoktobedifferent.
This week is Down Syndrome Awareness week and Toby will be promoting the fact that it’s ok to be different.
Our friend Eddie is our inspiration. Toby has not met him yet, but instinctively Eddie is his friend – someone who inspires Toby (and Toby’s mum and Dad) to really be themselves. Especially when it celebrates the things that make them truly unique.
So please join us, and celebrate your differences.
Tomorrow – if anyone asks why our socks are odd – we will tell them
“Because, it’s ok to be different”.