A few years back, while in daycare, a child told my daughter, Zara (pictured here), that she could not play with her because she did not have blonde hair.

This hurt my daughter very much for two reasons. First, Zara was the only kid of color in the entire daycare and she’d just began to realize she looked different from others. Second, Zara had considered that girl her very best friend.

As she shared this with me, my heart sank. As a father, the one thing I struggle most with is the feeling of helplessness. I wanted to hold Zara in my arms forever, take her to a fantasy land where the reality of this world doesn’t exist.

Instead, I chose to help my daughter build up her self-esteem. That evening, Zara and I enjoyed a special time discussing what makes her special, unique, fun, and amazing! I told her that anyone who wouldn’t want to play with her is seriously missing out, and I felt sorry for them. Then I told her the next time someone chooses not to play with her, she should walk away with a smile and find someone else to play with…and if there were no one else, she should play by herself and discover the awesome joys of “alone-time”!

Next few days Zara voluntarily played by herself, and absolutely loved it! Not too long after that, other kids noticed how much fun she was having on her own…and everyone wanted to play with her, even her old best friend..

We’ll be sharing Zara’s story at our Summer Camps this week. The best gift we can give our kids is the rare privilege of discovering what makes them different, unique and special. In a sense, we are born not to fit in, but to STAND OUT.

(Shared by Paul Okoye, @mebookz.ca #Founder)


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