When I hear a teenage boy was kicked out of school for wearing a dress and heels to class, my first inclination is to get on my high horse and get angry. At the school. How dare they? Boys and girls have every right to wear the same clothes, you know.
So when I heard 15-year-old Sam Saurs was suspended for pulling a little dress-up prank at his school, I was mighty PO'd at his closed-minded school administrator. But I was just as miffed at his mom. Because the kid from Washington State wasn't kicked out standing up for his ideologies. It all came down to a dare.
Sam Saurs' mom dared him to wear high heels all day. So he did. And he wore them to school. With a dress to match.
Wow. What a thing to "stand for." I mean, it still means the school was wrong. What's right for girls should be right for boys. What's right for transgender kids should be right for straight kids too.
But come on! There's something to be said for teaching our kids to choose their battles wisely, isn't there? Walking into a school building wearing a dress and high heels isn't just something some boys do because they "want" to, based on a silly dare. They do it because they're transgender. Their brain chemistry dictates their preferences for feminine clothing. It's not a choice any more than diabetes or dyslexia is a choice (poor examples, perhaps, in that both have negative connotations, but you get the point). But the kid who does it just as a joke isn't helping his cause. If anything, he's detracting from the point.
Think of the last time you took your child and a few of his little friends somewhere, only to have one friend act out. All the other children were lovely, but you said, "Nope, not doing that again." All because of one child. And such it is with this one kid, this kid who is not wearing his heels and dress because he has to but because he wants to, because he feels he "deserves" to have fun, because his parents haven't yet taught him that there is a time and place for horsing around and having it your way.
It's OK to let our kids be themselves, vital that we teach them to stand up for what's right and important. But shouldn't our kids have something more behind their decision than "my mom dared me, so I did"?
Image via R.A./Flickr