Watch the video, then read below what dad Mikki Willis had to say:
This little video it’s a reminder of how much we all need to feel embraced and accepted. I’ve been posting short videos of my son, Azai, and I for the past 3 years, since he was one. My one and a half year old, Zuri, is now making cameos. I see so much negativity being shared through social media that this is my way of bringing a little balance, at least to my friends. To know we’ve touched people beyond our immediate community is both humbling and awesome! My boys fill my wife and I with so much joy that it would be selfish of us not to share them.
On that note, while she’s rarely seen in our videos, it’s important for me to acknowledge my wife Nadia. She’s our superhero! Together we made a commitment to raise our boys outside of traditional rules, and instead, from our natural intuition. When we reach a challenging circumstance, we’re careful not to project the issue on our kids, but instead look within ourselves to see how we can expand our capacity to respond and communicate. And when we hit a wall, instead of using force, we simply default to the power of love. At the point where most kids would be punished, we choose to hug it out. Love is the best medicine!
Many are asking me, “how did you feel the moment Azai chose that doll?” The honest answer is, it didn’t surprise me at all. Azai is equally fascinated by princesses and robots. One moment he’s all boy, the next he’s expressing a softer, more angelic side. For me this behavior rings more authentic than playing one note all the time. That said, I did have a little reaction to Azai choosing that particular doll. When I saw the collection it was part of, and didn’t see much in the way of variety of skin colors or body types, I had to resist my urge to say, “Why don’t we chose a more realistic doll.” I don’t want my boys to adapt to the programming that a women should be built like a Barbie. I said, “Let’s look at all the dolls in the store first, then you can decide.” He was clear, “I want this mermaid.” I backed off knowing this would be the catalyst for us to have a powerful conversation about the beauty of body-types and racial equality.
My job as daddy is to provide a safe playing field for my boys to play whatever game they choose, or better yet, create their own game! I trust that by the time they realize the world isn’t as accepting as mommy and daddy they’ll have such a solid foundation that nothing will shake their stance to fully, and unabashedly be themselves. One more tidbit of truth- “As much as I support my boys to express themselves, I admit to deleting Disney’s Frozen theme song from our playlist. I just couldn’t hear it again! (-: