A story of acceptance... and judgement.

No pictures today, just words.  A story that I've debated whether or not to publish, but after reading this post, shared by Danielle, I felt a responsibility to share.  Below is the comment that I left on the post.  (I'd highly recommend reading her story before mine.)

I must share that I have had a similar experience recently that I have not written about- until now.  Last week, my 12 year old son needed to wear crazy socks for school.  We had a boy scout function that lasted until pretty late in the evening, which left no time to buy socks.  Since he was going to be a gnome for Halloween (which I thought was pretty cool and daring to dress up as a gnome at his middle school- in light of the fact that everything out of the ordinary is considered GAY), he had an extra pair of long black socks.  I suggested that he cut holes in the socks to make them look "crazy."  He and his dad cut big holes, he tried them on, and we all thought they looked perfect- and were different from the normal silly socks that he'd worn in years past.  The next day, when I picked him up, he said that a couple of people liked them, but a couple of older kids (who have never talked with him prior) asked him if he was a "fag."  A couple of others said they look like fish-net stockings... "stripper socks".  We had a discussion about it and in the end he felt okay about the situation.  The day after that, as I picked him up, he shared a conversation that he had with a girl from his school.  The girl was talking about her friend- discussing that he is considered to be gay by all of the other kids (due to "gay" activities, such as wearing tights, heels, etc.).  My son shared a bit of what we had discussed the prior day- in essence, that this boy may or may not be gay- but in middle school, "everything" that is different is considered gay.  She replied with a statement to the effect of "Oh yeah- like yesterday, I told my mom about your socks, and she said, 'Isn't that gay??'"

And some wonder why kids act the way they do... why they judge, bully, criticize.

HATS OFF TO YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE TO DO WHAT YOU FELT IS RIGHT- for accepting your son for who he is.

Words cannot express how much this issue- of judgment (parent-parent, parent-to-others' children, child-child) and bullying concerns me.  It is sad that something like wearing silly socks now needs to be scrutinized because a thought has been placed in Jacob’s head that this “could be gay.”

Thank you Danielle, for sharing the article, as it gave me a chance to put this experience that has been ‘eating at me’ into words.

* Jacob did dress in his gnome costume the next day- and won 1st place!


  1. wow. a coworker actually shared that story with me yesterday, and we were amazed at the terribleness of all of it. everyone knows about kids bullying each other, but i didn't realize how prevalent adult to kid bullying is. i never even thought about it (probably bc i don't have kids..). but i guess those bullies from our youth just grow up to be big bullies. so sorry your son had to deal with that. and that you had to deal with it. i'm sure it's heartbreaking.

    ps i LOVED his gnome costume!

  2. thank for the link torrie and your story. these are things i haven't encountered yet with my kids b/c they are so little but i appreciate the eye opener. i applaud that mom, you and both your sons.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I love seeing parents who support their kids. To me, the best gift we can give our kids is love and support. To help them grow into their own..whoever that grown person may be. I hate that not every person out there has this goal. I'm so very proud of both you and your son. Thank you for sharing this story to help open all our eyes!

  4. I'm a teacher at a 5th-6th grade school - so I see bullying take place all the time. I've heard kids accusing others of being gay several times, and I think it often has to do with that child having low self esteem or possibly worried about being different themselves.
    On the bright side - I do think that the bullying that I see is not nearly as bad as it could be. And I see numerous acts of kindness and selflessness every day that make me LOVE my job :)
    Your son sounds very brave and strong. I love that he still had the strength to wear his costume. You should be proud!!


  5. Wow Torrie. Thanks so much for sharing your story! The world needs more moms like you and like the mom in the original post. It is such a shame that these kinds of things happen. It makes me so upset. I just cannot even comprehend that kind of thinking. :(

    Your kids are so lucky to have you!

  6. I hated that the women in the original story were trying to pass their bullying and judgement as
    'concern". But the response to the original post has been so great(including yours)! It's awesome seeing moms committed to guiding their children to adulthood by modelling acceptance and compassion. And supporting each other in that goal!

  7. This just breaks my heart. Thank goodness for mamas like you.

  8. Wow Torrie, this is what people must mean when they say parenting gets harder as your kids get older. Sleep training, diapers, colic- all a cake walk compared to your son going to school and having an experience like this. Thank you for setting an example of strength and bravery. I'm learning a lot from you.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing that post and your story. I truly wish there were more moms - and other adults - out there like you.

    This topic of gender stereotypes has actually been weighing on my mind lately since a couple weeks ago after a trip to the doctor. Due to long waits, I make it a practice to take plenty of toys/books/snacks. I had just bought my daughter a Barbie magnetic dress-up set, and both my son (5) and daughter (3) wanted to play with it since it was the new toy. When our doctor walked in, she looked and did a bit of a double take on the scene. It didn't take long before she asked whether my son was also interested in playing with "boy" toys. I said, "We have plenty of trains, cars, construction trucks, etc. but I don't believe in girl or boy toys. I encourage my kids to play with whatever they want and we also have plenty of dolls that they both play with." I left it at that, but I noticed that she continued to look at my son with concern throughout the visit. Quite bothersome coming from a pediatrician who should know better but she has been a good doctor to both my children since they were born and I feel confident that I am right in this matter. However, as I write this, I wonder whether this is the doctor that I want to keep visiting with my children through the years. Or am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

    On the other hand, I remember at my son's preschool at a party one time when a preschool boy asked me to help him put on a princess costume. I thought nothing of it, but was concerned with whether other kids might make fun of him so I quietly whispered to the teacher whether I should comply. "Oh yes," she said, "we let them dress up in whatever they want from the dress-up clothes." I was thrilled to hear that and then helped the boy into the costume. Perhaps I shouldn't even have asked, but I didn't want to be the one to make that decision for a little boy who wasn't mine.

    So I guess we ought to be prepared to encounter people like our pediatrician and Moms ABC from that other post. And be thankful for the others who are more open-minded and accepting.

  10. I know I've replied to some of you via email, but to each and everyone of you- THANK YOU.

    I have found that talking with other parents, with Ryan, with Jacob - keeping the lines of communication OPEN (and the topics OPEN) has made and still makes all the difference in dealing with this issue. I appreciate your insight, and openness!!

  11. These are the stories that fill me with dread when I think about being a mom. Thank you for being honest (and awesome!) Your son is lucky to have you.

  12. Ditto what Heidi said.
    You truly must be proud of your Jacob for doing what he wanted to, regardless of what others might think. You're teaching him well!

  13. I can not believe what kids are going through these days. I know Emma comes home from school and asks me questions that make me wonder what is going on in today's society. The sad part is that it is partially other parents ignorance that they are teaching to their children. I think that is the most concerning part. I am so glad that you and Ryan have that open and honest communication with him. That truly shows a parent who is loving and concerned for their child's well being and self esteem.


  14. You and Ryan are amazing parents!! Jacob & Hailey are lucky to have you two! Go Jacob for being his own person and not letting those ignorant kids get the best of him! And... SHAME on that girls parents... geez... We'll use that as an example of how not to raise your kids.

  15. You rock mama!! Gold stars to your son as well for talking to peer(s) about it, for sharing with you, and doing what his creative juices are telling him to do!! I gotta say I said "ew" out loud when I read what that mum asked Jacob's peer... ugh


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