'Being different is a good thing': Dad's bullying message touches hearts everywhere

A father and son's powerful conversation about bullying is going viral.
A father and son's powerful conversation about bullying is going viral. Photo: Facebook/Isaac Irvine

When Arizona father Isaac Irvine discovered that his nine-year-old boy, Bodi, had been bullied at school, he seized the opportunity to have a powerful conversation about what it means to be unique. 

The heartfelt and nuanced lesson, which Mr Irvine shared on Facebook, has since gone viral, viewed almost 30,000 times. And it's not hard to see why.

Bodi, Mr Irvine tells us, was teased by his peers for having long hair and "looking like a girl". The kind-hearted youngster has been growing his locks to donate to children with cancer.

"It's pretty long, dude. It's pretty awesome," Mr Irvine tells Bodi after he shares his experience of hearing the hurtful taunts.

"And how did that make you feel?" Mr Irvine asks.

"Sad," Bodi responds.

Mr Irvine then lets his son in on " a little secret" telling Bodi, "Daddy gets made fun of sometimes, too. People look at me and are like, 'Look at that guy with all the tattoos on his neck and hands and stuff.'"

As the father-son pair discuss letting the comments "roll off your back", dad expressing his pride that Bodi didn't react with anger, Mr Irvine and Bodi conclude with a poignant message.

"Just because you're unique, and you don't look like everyone else, doesn't mean you're weird, or that being different is a bad thing," Mr Irvine says.

"I think being different is a good thing," Bodi adds. "It means you think different than other people."

We couldn't agree more.

After the clip went viral, Mr Irvine told CBS news "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."
And yet, Mr Irvine felt that had he done that, it would have robbed his son of an important life-lesson. " He's stronger than he knows and he can solve this one himself," he said.
Mr Irvine and Bodi have since received an outpouring of support from viewers. Some commenters shared pictures of their own long-haired boys and partners - many of whom could relate to Bodi's experience.
Others simply expressed their gratitude.
"Amazing young man, and an even better father," one commenter wrote in a sentiment shared by many. "I would LOVE to have him as a student in my classroom, and to have witnessed the awful exchange of words--it would have been an immediate learning moment for ALL. The best way to overcome ignorance and hate is to continue to preach your message."