10-7-14 AveryJoyAre you familiar with the song in The Sound of Music in which Julie Andrews, playing Maria, sings a list of her favorite things? She includes raindrops on roses, warm woolen mittens, and snowflakes that stay on noses and eyelashes.

My list would be quite different.

Children being themselves would make my list. So would parents who let them. Our uniqueness is an important part of who we are and children who can celebrate their individuality are truly blessed.

Friends of mine are raising their daughter, Avery Joy, to be who she was created to be. They’re wise. They know her, like her, love her, and want her to genuinely like herself.

Avery Joy recently came downstairs wearing this “jacket” she made from leftover “minky” fabric. She declared she was wearing it to school. Her mom wrote me: “I could argue her on this “jacket,” but instead I chose to let her celebrate being herself. An artsy creative little girl.”

Yes!

Her mom posted this on Facebook: “She proudly wore her homemade jacket to school so she could show her friends. She was quite excited about it. I however had to stop myself from saying “you cannot wear that to school! You’ll get made fun of!” I love that she truly does not care what anyone else thinks because she’s totally confident in being her joyful little self. I didn’t want to plant a seed of doubt in her mind or make her think she shouldn’t show off something she made and is proud of because someone else might not appreciate it. So many struggle with the “what will people think” mentality and it’s sad. I’m glad she’s confident in herself and doesn’t let others opinions sway her.”

This parenting attitude is among my favorite things. Avery Joy’s mom and dad know their daughter and have chosen to celebrate her creativity. Because they’re so positive with her, she can be positive with herself. This will help her be resilient if she is ever teased.

I love that this mom stopped herself before warning her daughter. We don’t always have to plant the seed that something could go wrong. That may help kids like Avery Joy expect something to go wrong. Therefore, she might have been on edge and then misinterpreted reactions to her jacket.

Her parents trusted her to handle well anything that might be said at school. They knew her teacher and friends, since the mom volunteers in the school, so they were additionally confident she would be fine. They also trusted the spirit in her to know truth and come out of any interactions as her “joyful little self.”

I love that they were optimistic. Confident. Hopeful. Trusting. There is way too much negativity surrounding children. Yes, we must be cautious and protective of their spirits when it’s warranted. But, we also must let them walk forward with confidence and learn how to negotiate life.

I’m excited for Avery Joy’s future, partly because I believe there’s hope she’ll become who she was created to be. I wonder if someone reading this will one day wear an Avery Joy creation. Wouldn’t that be great?! I also think she’ll have the resiliency to respond well to anything negative that happens because her parents are providing her with opportunities to learn how to bounce back.

Are you wondering what happened when Avery Joy got to school? Her friends loved her jacket and said it was cute. She came home as happy as when she left! Her friends supported her and her wonderful teacher encouraged her creativity instead of quenching it.

These are also among my favorite things. Supportive friends and supportive teachers who don’t think a jacket has to look a certain way.