In an exchange that can only be described as a major parenting win, one dad from Gilbert, Arizona is giving us a powerful and heartfelt perspective on how to deal with one of the biggest challenges facing our kids today: bullying.
When Issac Irvine learned from his 9-year old son Bodi that he had been bullied at school because of his long hair, Irvine saw it as an opportunity to teach his son, and kids everywhere, an important lesson.
During their exchange, which was filmed and later shared on Facebook where it’s been viewed over 161,000 times, Irvine sat his son down to ask him what happened that day. Bodi, along with his twin brother Adin, made the selfless and compassionate decision last year to grow their blonde hair out to donate to kids with cancer. But in the video, the 3rd-grader quietly explains that two boys made fun of his long hair, telling him he “looked like a girl.”
“How’d that make you feel, man?” Irvine asked his son.
“It made me feel sad,” Bodi shared.
Irvine goes on to fill his son in on a little secret: “Daddy gets made fun of sometimes too,” he says. “People look at me and are like, ‘Look at that guy with all the tattoos on his neck and hands and stuff.'”
Bodi explains that he let the bullies’ comments “roll off his back,” to which Irvine says he’s incredibly proud that his son didn’t get angry.
“I think being different is a good thing,” Bodi concludes at the end of the video. “It means you think different than other people.”
In an interview with CBS News, Irvine explained that he never expected the video to go viral, but if it helps other parents talk to their kids about how to handle bullying, it’s worth it.
“When you hear someone at school was mean, it’s natural to look to the school to solve it,” he shared. “Or tell your kids that you’ll solve it. Had I done that, I feel I would be robbing Bodi of an important life-lesson. He’s stronger than he knows and he can solve this one himself.”
As parents, it’s instinctual to protect our kids in any way we can, but in some cases, as Irvine and Bodi have shown, it’s equally important to take the opportunity to teach the lesson, instead of immediately solving the problem. The now-viral video has received over 400 comments to date, and Irvine says he plans to read each and every one of them to his sons so they can witness the positive impact Bodi’s story has had on others — and turn an otherwise painful experience into a positive one.