I recently had the pleasure of attending my thirteen year old son’s grade eight graduation. Everyone was of course dressed nicely for the occasion; the girls in their new dresses, and the latest hair styles; the boys dressed mostly in their best jeans, and am I ever trying to be cool look. The highlight of the evening for me was one young woman from my son’s class who had added her own creative flare to her ensemble. True to form, she had the prerequisite new dress and shoes, but much to my delight, she had also chosen to don a tiara, a wand, and a small pair of fairy wings. My first thoughts on seeing this young woman in this resplendent array was, “Wow, here was a girl who was going places!” So, it was a great disappointment when I found out the following day that not all had looked so kindly on this girl and her wings. I am not exactly what one would refer to as soft spoken, nor do I hold my tongue when I believe that an injustice has been done; perhaps it is that very reason that the fates decided to keep me blissfully ignorant for the evening of the graduation. I am not someone who would be exactly thrilled if one of my children were to dye their hair purple and wear sticks in their nose, however, a small pair of gossamer wings, a lovely tiara, and a magic wand were not ‘ridiculous’, nor ‘inappropriate’ for a grade eight graduation. Correct me if I am wrong, but are we as parents not supposed to support and encourage our children in their creative endeavors? Here was a young woman with a mind of her own; a young woman who was not afraid to be a little different; a young woman who wanted to say good bye to a childhood and innocence that she will soon be forced to leave behind and instead of applauding her uniqueness, her refusal to be a sheep, she was laughed at, ridiculed and told she was a joke! Now here’s the kicker; the problem did not come from her peers, but from their parents. It seems that some forget that many of the greatest talents we have in this world today were just as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘inappropriate’ as this shining example of today’s youth. One parent even went so far as to try and have their child moved in the class picture so as not to be associated with the winged one in future years. Personally, I think we should cherish these kids who dare to be different. Who are we to clip their wings? Had this young woman been my daughter I would have been proud; had she been my daughter I would have been humbled had she allowed me to join her in the donning of the wings.