Dwyane Wade, the retired NBA star, is handling his child’s transition in a super cool and inspiring way.
As a parent, we only have so much influence over who our children become. They are each born with unique traits, interests, and personalities, and it is our job to pay attention to those qualities, and to work to love and guide them toward becoming the best versions of themselves. The key word being themselves. Not who we as parents may want them to be, but who they are as human beings.
Our children are often our greatest teachers. They challenge your beliefs on all sorts of subjects. They make you think more openly, and they bring you face-to-face with your judgments and opinions, ultimately changing you for the better. Dwyane Wade often talks publicly about his family, his wife, and their love and acceptance of all their children, but in particular, their acceptance of their child, Zaya. Dwyane Wade talks about how his son Zion came to him and his wife and asked them to accept him as a girl and call her Zaya. Dwyane Wade explains that he and his wife sought professional help and guidance so that they could best support their child.
How would you have handled the same situation had it been presented to you? Think about the power of a parent’s acceptance. Think about how we each decide to handle life’s big moments, and how our words and tone can carry such weight in another person’s life. Reflect on the many conversations you’ve had throughout your life with friends who haven’t felt seen, loved, or accepted in their own families—and how that rejection still hurts and haunts them years later.
Think of others who have told you stories about the power of acceptance, and how it has changed their lives as well. It is, indeed, so powerful to feel truly loved for being yourself. That’s clearly what Zaya Wade seems to feel. Her wisdom and her perspective is astounding. She posed a question to us all: “What’s the point of being on this Earth if you’re going to try to be someone you’re not?” she asked. “It’s like you’re not even living as yourself.”
Oftentimes, we look to public figures to teach us, inspire us, and tell us who we can be. But it’s often our children who are our greatest teachers. They offer us the chance to be good students, if we choose to listen to them with open hearts and open minds.
Where do you find yourself at this age? Learning? Growing? Evolving? Are you dropping beliefs that no longer serve you? Are you dropping judgments that hurt you and others? Are you stepping away from your fears and into your truths?
It’s so important to keep working, keep learning, keep trying, keep getting better, and to keep making a difference with your life. Do you tell this to your children?
Along the way, our children will find themselves dealing with questions they never imagined. They will be confronted with challenges they never anticipated. They will find themselves having to grow, evolve, and accept things that will bring them to their knees.
Tell your children that there are teachers everywhere. That is why it’s so important to keep their eyes and their ears open.
Learn from the Wade family and their daughter, Zaya. Let them inspire your heart and your mind. They took a step forward for humanity and moved us all forward in the process.
If we lead from a place of love, acceptance follows. Allowing someone you love to be wholly themselves, regardless of what you think or want or were raised to believe, is the ultimate gift of acceptance. Allowing someone you love to be wholly themselves, and loving them for who they are, is the very definition of love.