Elijah has taken to wearing a shirt and tie to school and, sometimes, a full-blown suit. It’s his latest choice in costume, an evolution that began with an Iron Man suit and now includes a pinstriped model.
It makes him happy, and he looks impossibly dapper. Plus, thanks to that Kohl’s cash, we got the suit for a song. What could go wrong?
Nothing … yet.
Elijah’s classmates have been kind regarding his sartorial selections. He hasn’t had any run-ins with a mud puddle, and his teacher is amused by his new look.
That won’t last, I fear. Someone, someday will pick on Eli for looking different. It might not happen this year, but it could start as early as kindergarten. He’ll be an easy target, a gentle soul whose passions run deep. I wonder where he gets that from?
There’s likely little we can do about it. Nonconformists don’t conform after a brief chat or bullying session. I grew up as the picture of conformity. I was shy, had low self-esteem and never had so much as an urge to rebel against authority of any kind. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t spot nonconformists a mile away. I admired their courage, their individualism and their pluck. Nothing stopped them, even if they got funny looks or cruel nicknames.
Do I have a nonconformist on my hands? And if so, how can I protect Elijah from future bullying? I’m not sure I can. What’s in my power, though, is giving him the love and strength to follow his idiosyncrasies wherever they may lead. The worst thing I could do for Elijah is not have his back. I will explain the consequences of his actions, though. I’ve already told him kids might tease him for wearing a suit.
He didn’t say much. That’s just Elijah. He takes it all in without so much as a syllable, but I know the message got through.
Elijah’s suit and tie mode won’t last long if history is any guide. A few months back he wouldn’t wear anything with sleeves. That was followed by his soccer phase. He’s also partial to shirts with corporate logos, even if he doesn’t know what the word “corporate” means. Alex P. Keaton, your twin is on line two.
It doesn’t matter what phase he’ll pick next. It’ll be his choice and there’s little anyone can do or say to stop him. I couldn’t be more proud.