Four-year-old Azai got a duplicate gift at his birthday party last month, so his dad, Mikki Willis, took him to the toy store to swap it out. Azai chose a Little Mermaid Barbie. Dad’s reaction?
Willis says, “I let my boys choose their life. That’s how mama and I are. We just say ‘Whatever.’ Choose your expression, choose what you’re into, choose your sexuality — choose it.”
The video has been viewed over 14 million times since Friday. There’s a reason that videos like this go viral — it’s a message people need to hear. As parents, we need to constantly remind ourselves that our children came here through us, but they are not us. They will have their own passions and interests, and it’s our job to help cultivate those — not build our own mold and try to pour them into it.
Willis’ sons are too young to recognize the profundity of their dad’s words, but they can certainly feel the love behind them. They react with such pure excitement to their dad’s energy — it’s pretty awesome to witness.
“I feel overwhelmed and real overjoyed about the attention it’s received and almost not at all surprised,” Willis told ABC News. “It’s been amazing to watch it expand, to read the quotes and to really feel the collective, global need for people to feel the need to have permission to be themselves is really validating.”
This is true for adults and children alike; the need for acceptance is universal. Willis has received thousands of positive reactions to his interaction with his son. Of course there have been negative ones, too — but why even focus on those. You can’t force people to evolve, but you can certainly collectively celebrate with those who have.
“You have my promise right now — both of you — as we sit in this car… you have my promise forever to love you and accept you no matter what life you choose.” Yup. That’s our job. That’s parenting in a nutshell.
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