It’s a moment every parent dreads: the day their child comes home from school in tears, explaining that a student at school bullied them.
That’s exactly what happened to 9-year-old Bodi Irvine from Gilbert, Arizona, last week.
When the young boy’s father, Isaac, heard what happened, he was furious — but he also used it as an opportunity to teach his son, and other children like him, an important lesson. Now his message is going viral.
“You got bullied today, huh?” Isaac asked his son in a Facebook video, which has been viewed nearly 60,000 times. “What happened? You want to talk about it?”
The third-grader explained that two boys made fun of his long hair. Isaac told CBS News both of his identical twin boys, Adin and Bodi, decided last year that they wanted to grow out their blonde hair to donate to kids with cancer. Their hair needs to be at least 10 inches long before they can donate.
“And some kids came by and said you look like a girl?” Isaac asked in the video.
“Yeah,” Bodi said. “It made me feel sad.”
Bullying can happen to anyone, Irvine told Bodi, explaining that he’s been made fun of over the years because of his tattoos. Bodi told his dad he let the boys’ hurtful comments “roll off his back.”
“That’s a good thing,” Isaac said. “I’m glad you didn’t get angry.”
“I think being different is a good thing,” said Bodi, as the video ended. “It means you think different than other people.”
Isaac said he never planned on making the video public. He just wanted his son to be able to talk through what happened and help him understand his feelings.
“I want Bodi to understand that he can effect the way other people act as much as he can effect the weather, so don’t place your emotional well-being in the hands of other people,” Isaac told CBS News.
But if it helps parents address bullying with their children, Isaac says it’s worth it.
“I hope they are inspired to be transparent with their kids about their own lives,” he said. “When you hear someone at school was mean, it’s natural to look to the school to solve it. 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.”
Dozens of people commented on the viral Facebook post, thanking the dad for sharing his conversation with Bodi.
“This video has inspired me to be more open with my children,” one Facebook user said. “My son gets bullied too and it made him so happy to watch this and know other kids go through it.”
“Thank you for sharing this! My daughter who is bullied a lot at school cried watching this and then turned to me and said ‘Mom, it’s ok to be different,’” another wrote.
While Isaac appreciates the flattering comments, he has to admit he’s winging it 90 percent of the time.
“Kids don’t come with a manual and we’re doing the best we can at any given moment,” he said.