“What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” – Nicholas Sparks
Starting this article was a struggle but then I remembered the video I had watched about Ryland Whittington. His story blew me away and yes, there were tears , not sad tears but joyful tears.
Ryland’s parents are incredible and their commitment to their son’s transgender journey at such a young age is courageous. Their main focus was to create a life for Ryland where he felt safe and loved. That certainly came through when Ryland spoke at the MILK conference. With the support and love of his parents and family, Ryland is a confident, happy and loved boy.
Even though I am a parent, I can only imagine what it would have felt like for Ryland’s parents to be presented with such an overwhelming challenge to their values, their beliefs, their expectations of their children and family unit. Ryland’s parents listened to their child, they searched for knowledge and information so that they could understand his journey and they supported him 100%.
When a child challenges the expectations their parents have of them, it is a test, to the true commitment and the depth of love a parent has for their child. Ryland’s story shows us all the joy we can bring to someones life when we are courageous, when we accept difference and when we truly and deeply love unconditionally.
“When you take the time to actually listen, with humility, to what people have to say, it’s amazing what you can learn. Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be children.” – Greg Mortenson