“We let our boys choose their own life. We say yeah!”
A simple yet powerful statement, and the parenting intention of dad Mikki Willis, who the Internet has deemed “Father of the Year.” How did he receive this impressive accolade? He posted a video (that has gone massively viral) discussing his son’s choice to purchase an Ariel doll at the toy store.
In the video, he offers his two young sons this wholehearted sentiment, “You have my promise forever to love you and accept you no matter what life you choose.”
Now that’s a parenting philosophy I can get behind.
In an interview with Babble, Mikki revealed that after making this statement, several people have asked him, “How do you allow a young child to ‘choose their life?’ If one of your boys decides he wants to play chicken on a freeway will you let him choose that?”
To that, his response is this:
“Of course not. But I wouldn’t totally deny him the experience he’s seeking either. There’s always a deeper reason for these things. It might be that he’s not experiencing enough danger and wants to test his limits. In that case, my wife and I would create an adventure, one that’s safe, but has all the radical thrills wild little boys seek.”
In times when the majority of viral videos leave me with a tinge of nausea, this video (and the resounding positive feedback) revived my belief that our world is making powerful shifts towards acceptance, harmony, and love.
Mikki didn’t expect such positive reactions, telling us:
“It’s been extremely heart-warming to read all the beautiful words! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a dominantly positive response to anything on the Internet. It’s clear that the human spirit can no longer be contained. People are crying out for the freedom to be who and what they were born to be.”
But, because the Internet wouldn’t be the Internet without a few naysayers, the dad and sons team created a follow-up video in response to the few who didn’t understand his decision to let his son play with a “girls’ toy.”
This follow-up was Mikki’s way of “demonstrating balance.”
He tells us:
“Our world is comprised of two energies, masculine and feminine. The most amazing people I’ve encountered are both strong and sensitive. When a little boy is pushed too far towards strength they sever the connection to their feelings and become emotionally illiterate. By showing the world that my boys are engaged in both rowdy monster truck fun as well as the more tender things like caring for a doll, my hope is that other parents will relax when their kids show attraction to gender-opposite play.”
The video is lighthearted and funny while sending a powerful message and refusing to play the “I’m right and you’re wrong game.”
When asked about the primary messages he hopes the videos send, he states:
“What I know from experience and observation is, suppression breeds rebellion and depression. Our world is full of unhappy people who were pushed into a life that isn’t their’s. I won’t do that to my boys. My job as Daddy is to guide and protect my kids, while helping to cultivate their innate sense of intuition and intelligence. “
Mikki, and his wife Nadia Salamanca Willis, raise their two young boys in the Southern California town of Ojai. While this little town breeds positivity, I’m happy to see it’s going international.
It’s often difficult to know if the actions behind the positive intentions expressed in videos such as these match up. Because I’m blessed to know this beautiful family, I can attest to the fact that the love and authenticity seen on screen is just a glimpse into the landscape of heartfelt actions these parents provide in every moment with their children. They infuse their actions with their intentions.
Will we be hearing from Mikki and his family anytime soon? Absolutely — he says they’re planning their next video now! Meanwhile, they’ll continue to share “little moments on video as they happen” on their YouTube channel.
At the end of the day, what did Mikki say his parenting philosophy boils down to?
“Love. Love. Love.”
Let’s take that beyond parenting and make it the philosophy for life. If in doubt — love, love, love.More On