“What to Say When Your Kid is Worried They’re Different” or “Pirate Talk”

This morning, my four-year old Finn wasn’t sure if he wanted to dress up like a pirate for Pirate Day at summer camp.  Wardrobe decisions must be tough for four year olds because we went back and forth on this all morning.  He needs to take some cues from these folks.

Finally, we decided to dress like a pirate, and though we’re confused as to why pirate pants aren’t cuffed (“Why do my pants have holes and rips in them?”), it was a general success.

As we pulled in to the parking lot at summer camp, up pipes a voice from the backseat:

“Dad, am I different?”

“What do you mean, buddy?” I asked.

“Am I different?” he says.

“Well, do you want to be different?  Daddy is different in lots of ways…” I said, trying to throw myself under the same bus he’s worried about being under.

After thinking it through he said, “Yes. I want to be dressed like a pirate.

Finny Pirate

That’s different.”

“Yes, that is different,” I affirmed.

“But I’m still the same me on the inside.  I’m still me, right?” he said with a mixture of confidence and questioning.

“Yes, buddy. You’ll always be you.”

At which point two-year old Al screams, “I DON’T WANT TO BE A PIRATE!”

“…you don’t have to be, buddy.  We can all just be ourselves here.”

I’d say our first discussion on being different and finding identity in the world went pretty well…