After seeing a post on Facebook about a little boy named Sam who wore pink shoes for his first day of preschool, which ultimately sparked controversy from his mom's family and friends -- I couldn't help but feel kind of bad for the poor kid.
Because even though he'd chosen the shoes himself and still wanted to wear them even after his mother explained that they were meant for a little girl, he still wound up with people whispering behind his back and making nasty remarks about him. (Shocker.)
I'm sure you can guess the negative kinds of the things that were said about his pink shoes, such as -- "That will turn him gay." "Things like this will affect him socially." It's just "wrong," yada, yada, yada.
And for those exact reasons, like being unnecessarily teased, ridiculed, whispered about, or looked at in a funny way -- I wouldn't let my own son wear a pair of pink shoes to school. Because at only 6 years old and being in the first grade, I'm just not sure it's fair to subject him to being bullied or treated unfairly all because most people associate pink with girls and blue with boys (and so on and so forth).
Yes, I get the whole "we should let kids be free to express themselves" thing, and I'll be the first to say "more power" to this mom for taking a chance and letting Sam go off to preschool in his pink zebra print flats.
Luckily, he wasn't given a hard time by the other kids at his school, but I'm just not sure that would be the case in elementary school. Preschool is a safe little haven where the kids are still fairly innocent and accepting of new ideas and differences, but big kid school is an entirely different story.
Somehow I'm guessing if my son were to put on that same pair of shoes -- he wouldn't even make it through the five-minute bus ride to school in the morning before someone laughed at him, asked him why in the heck he was wearing pink shoes, spewed all sorts of mean jokes his way, or told him he was dressed like a girl.
And if he were in the same boat as Sam and had chosen the shoes himself and been all excited about wearing them, I know that insults and ridicule from his peers would absolutely crush him -- which would in turn make him less enthusiastic about expressing himself in the future.
I mean, I think I'd feel differently if he were in middle school or high school and could put on those shoes all while knowing he'd probably be bullied for it, because at that point he'd be less likely to take any mean comments to heart.
But at the tender age of 6? Yeah, his little self-esteem just isn't ready for that sort of torture, and as his mother, it's my job to protect him as best I can.
That being said, if he really wanted a pair of pink shoes, I'd buy him the shoes and let him wear them around the house at home where he's free from outside judgement.
Other than the privacy of our own home, however, we're sticking to sneakers and other "boy" shoes and all other items of clothing. Bullying is bad enough as it is without handing tormentors their material on a silver platter.
Ok, your turn. Would you let your little boy wear pink shoes to school?
Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr