Where acceptance is all there is
My question is probably either too general or too specific, but I am preparing to share my alopecia story with my son's 5th grade class, and the only thing that worries me is, that by sharing, my story will become in part his story. He will become the kid with the mom who lost her hair or who wears a wig. I will be sharing in the context of a program that teaches about inclusion, kindness, and preventing bullying, and I feel like I have something to give that might help a child or young adult sometime down the road. Having been open about my hair loss, I suspect some of the kids already know, but so far in their class this year I have carefully worn a wig.
My son hasn't yet reached the stage where the very existence of his parents embarrasses him, but I'm curious how kids who do care have reacted.
I do plan to forewarn him, but at the same time I feel like sharing is my decision, and I will explain my reasons to him if he objects.
I talked to my son about speaking to his class, and he really didn't care. To him it wasn't a big deal in any way. So I went ahead and shared with his class during the lesson on tolerance. I showed a few photos of my hair progression, from full hair, through losing hair, a shaved head, white regrowth, and a wig. That was a couple of weeks ago, and while I waited to see if there were any followup repercussions, my son said no one mentioned it, and I have been in the classroom again with the kids with nothing seeming different.
All in all, it was a very positive experience because I feel like we created a safe place in the classroom where kids felt comfortable sharing some of their personal struggles. Just talking in the abstract or referencing people off in youtube land doesn't have the impact of someone they know sharing how being different is OK.
If these kids encounter someone else with alopecia, I'm confident that they will be more open to understanding the condition. So, in 10 years when someone says to their date that they have alopecia, and the date says something like, "Oh yeah, my friend's mom had that. It's just your hair, isn't it?" they can thank me. (Just kidding, but hiding doesn't seem to do anyone any good.)
Glad you had a positive outcome. As a teacher with Alopecia I made sure the children knew as much as they wanted to about it. Yes you have added to an environment in which the children can share problems Well done