The courage to be yourself: little kids with big ideas

Making a mask for an upcoming halloween may seem like a harmless enough activity, but there are times when even the smallest things – and people - in life can have big consequences. So when one of our ‘Friends of ANG’ regulars told us a story about her son and his homemade costume, we just had to pass it on …

Pietro was adamant he wanted to make his own mask for the carnival. The fact that he is only 6 years old and unable to do this type of activity on his own didn’t seem to matter to him. In fact, the only thing that mattered to Pietro was going to the party as his own person – which in this case meant a wearing a giant spray-paint can as a mask.

While Elena, his mum, had her doubts about this idea and the reaction other kids might have toward his costume for the carnival, she was also proud of him for wanting so badly to express the very thing that makes him unique – bucket loads of imagination and an outgoing persona.

Pietro and Elena made it to the carnival in good spirits, but things quickly took a turn for the worse when he started to notice that the other kids were dressed differently.

After a few tears and many hugs later, Pietro was finally able to accept that being different takes a lot of courage and that his mask embraced the true spirit of the carnival because it was made from the imagination of a child.

Breaking the rules

When we heard Elena and Pietro’s story, it made us think of another little person with big ideas. A friend of the ANG family had only recently shown us a picture of her daughter dressed up in a fairy costume.

There is nothing unusual about this type of photo, especially as it concerns a young girl, until you notice that an important part of the costume is a fake moustache.

Unaware of the many social rules and norms she was breaking in this simple act, this gutsy young lady celebrated Italy’s carnival season with unabated enthusiasm.

There are times when it is important to monitor the behaviour of young people, but this doesn’t have to mean stifling their creativity by making them conform to our own idea of what’s normal.

This isn’t the same as saying ‘all tradition’ is bad or that everything kids do is okay. It is just an idea or maybe the desire to look closer at the rules that govern our lives.

If we can do this, we might also have the courage to dream up our own big ideas too.

Until next time,

The ANG team.

Posted by ANG digital reporter Aimee McBride

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