“Mom?” the young girl asked her mother as they walked home from school one day. “I was thinking, maybe I should dye my hair like all the other girls in my class. Everyone likes them.”
The mother studied her daughter for a moment. “Let me tell you a story. It’s about a flower. It is pretty, and is often recognized by its bright red petals and the prickly thorns along the stem.”
“I know that flower,” the daughter said. “It’s a rose.”
The mother nodded in agreement. “A long time ago, a florist saw this flower and was captivated. He put on special gloves – so to not get pricked by the thorns – and plucked it out of a bush. ‘What a pretty flower,’ he thought, ‘You will be perfect once you are like the others.’ Therefore, the florist removed the thorns from the rose stem. Once the job was done, the florist cast aside his gloves, unafraid now to hold the rose with bare hands. ’There,’ he said, “Now you are perfect for everyone.’”
The daughter frowned as she listened. “But the florist liked the rose, even with its thorns.”
“Indeed,” replied the mother.
“So why did the flower need to change in order to fit in? Wouldn’t others, too, think that the rose was pretty? Even with its thorns?”
The mother shook her head. “The florist was afraid to display the rose for what it really was, and therefore covered up what made it unique. But you should never take away the thing that makes you, you. For you never know how many people would find it to be perfect just the way it is.”
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