A Pennsylvania mom showed the power of love, acceptance and support in a post about her son, who likes to wear nail polish and tutus.
On Wednesday, Devon Berryann shared a photo of her son Silas on Facebook, along with an incredibly powerful caption.
"My six year old son likes to wear nail polish," she wrote. "He likes to wear girls’ clothes and tutus. He tells me about the boys he likes at school. He says he will marry them and adopt babies. Maybe he will outgrow it. Maybe not. I love and accept him for who he is."
"I always thought that doing that would protect him from the pain of hurtful words and bullies, and I didn’t worry," the mom added.
Berryann explained that recently, Silas came home from school one day and said kids had teased him for wearing nail polish.
"[F]or the first time ever I considered talking him into taking it off. Into hiding that part of himself," she wrote. "Because for the first time ever I was scared that he would be gunned down one night when he was out having a good time with his friends."
Ultimately, however, the mom said she remembered why she lets her son be the person he wants to be:
"Because it makes him happy. Because nothing hurts more than seeing your child truly sad. Because pretending to be someone you’re not to please other people only leads to self-loathing. To depression and to suicide. And that too made me afraid. Why do I have to fear for him because of what he likes and who he cares about? Aren’t we past all this yet? I want this world to change. To be better for him. To DESERVE him. Because he is a wonderful, amazing person. He wants to be president. He thinks he is a ninja. He listens when you explain things and remembers it forever. He notices when you’re sad and tries to cheer you up. He has a light about him that just can’t be put out, no matter how hard some people have tried."
Though she is afraid for her son, Berryann said she's realized that fear won't change the world; instead, "love and acceptance" are what society needs. Thus, she will continue to purchase nail polish and tutus for her son for as long as he wants.
"So here he is world," she concluded. "See my boy for the amazing person he is. Show him love. Show him acceptance. Help us change the world into one that deserves him."
Berryann's post has been shared over 8,200 times, and the comments section is filled with supportive responses, praising the mom's beautiful words and her love and support for her son.
In a follow-up comment, Berryann thanked readers for their kind messages. "I know I'm making good choices in life and surrounding myself with right kind of people when a post like this gets this big of a reaction," she said. "It makes me feel much more hopeful ... and I really needed to feel hopeful again."
The mom also shared a photo of Silas holding a sign that reads, "Thank you."
Even the simplest acts of love and encouragement can have a major impact.