Hiking this past weekend, I paused and stepped to the side of the trail to let a father and young daughter pass as they were headed up and I was headed down (Hiking etiquette = thou who is working harder has the right of way). As she saw me, she stopped dead in her tracks and stared. I smiled and said hello. She stared silently from behind her sparkly sunglasses. Her father said, “Say hi Molly.” Molly timidly said “Hi” and then blurted out “What are those black spots on you?”
I thought here we go again. I’ve lost count of the number of times this has happened. Fortunately I love my freckles. Children are curious and often speak without filters. I smiled. I looked up at the father. He was silent, seemingly embarrassed and now holding up a line of hikers bottlenecked behind him who were patiently awaiting my response.
“The black spots are called freckles,” I told Molly. “They look black because of your sunglasses, but actually they’re golden brown. I get more of them when I go in the sunshine. Don’t worry it’s not mud and I’m not sick. We just have a different color skin. As a little girl, my grandfather told me, ‘Each freckle is a kiss from God.’ I am very loved and very special.” Molly smiled and went on her way. Her father remained speechless. I smiled and said “Enjoy your hike and went on my way.”
- My grandfather was a wise man who taught me early on to love the unique me. Granted, I still spent a good chunk of my adolescence trying every remedy to remove them. As I grew older I came to love my freckles. Now I wouldn’t trade them for the moon.
I ask you to consider, how do you teach your children, your peers, your community to ASK, to be CURIOUS and to EMBRACE the uniqueness of an individual?
~ Clare J. Hefferren, Founder, President and Proud Freckle Face