When you have children, there are several trials and tribulations you must go through as a parent.
Whether it's making cupcakes for the school bake sale or punishing your kids for their misbehavior, your job is never done.
However, one Massachusetts father was faced with a heart-wrenching task when he had to comfort his five-year-old son after he was bullied at school.
"My rage meter is spiking right now."
When Aaron Gouveia's son Sam came home from kindergarten, he was horrified to find out he had been ridiculed for wearing nail polish.
The angered father-of-three decided to take to Twitter to vent his frustration over Sam's treatment at school.
This is my son, Sam. He’s 5. And today he learned how shitty and harmful #ToxicMasculinity is. My rage meter is spiking right now so excuse me if this is a little raw but there are some things I want to say about BS #gender norms (a thread) pic.twitter.com/NtoE2VHKsU— Daddy Files (@DaddyFiles) October 23, 2018
In a thread that has garnered nearly 60,000 likes and 33,000 comments, Gouveia made sure to inform his followers about the consequences of following gender norms.
"Sam is my middle child & he’s a terror. A 'boy’s boy' as so many (not me) would say. He’s rough and tumble, he’s loud, he’s always dirty, loves trucks, plays sports and knee drops me from the couch. But he also loves a lot of 'girl' things," Gouveia wrote on the social media site, adding his son has a collection of purses and bright nail polish.
The former journalist-turned-PR specialist said Sam had worn red nail polish to school and had "absolutely no concept of nail polish only being for girls or reason to think anyone would possibly have a problem with beautiful nails."
Gouveia explained Sam was relentlessly bullied by his classmates, who called him names and heckled him to take it off.
In the series of tweets, Gouveia also addressed his fellow parents and blasted them on how they choose to raise their children.
"My son is far from perfect but he’s got a huge heart and empathy for miles. He finds beauty in everything around him and for five years he’s never been afraid to be different because different has never meant 'bad.' Until now," he said.
"I know these kids are only in kindergarten but this toxic masculinity bullsh*t is LEARNED. Learned most of the time from parents. So parents, I hope you’re proud. I hope this is what you wanted. I hope you’re satisfied."
"After careful consideration, he’s leaving it on."
When Sam's mother picked him up from school, Gouveia explained the youngster collapsed in his mother's arms, with a face full of tears.
Although he initially wanted to take the nail polish off, Gouveia had a heart-to-heart with his son, and told him he should only remove it if he wanted it off, and not because his peers told him to.
"After careful consideration, he’s leaving it on. Because he likes it and it makes him feel good. Then Sam’s 10-year-old brother painted HIS nails in solidarity with his sibling, at which point I nearly cried," he tweeted, adding Sam picked out the color "Main Squeeze" for him to wear as well.
Gouveia said that while people still have a lot to learn when it comes to toxic masculinity, Sam has seen the countless messages of support he was given online.
Today has been overwhelming. Sam wants to personally thank each and every one of you who reached out to support him. It meant the world to all of us. pic.twitter.com/xuEBXsOIst— Daddy Files (@DaddyFiles) October 23, 2018
When Sam returned to school the next day, he decided to stick to his bright red nails because "it’s pretty and good luck for the Patriots." This time, he held his head up high.
"I had a good day today," Sam told USA TODAY, adding one of his friends told him he should keep it on. "It made me feel pretty good."
When he was asked what he would tell other young children who were on the fence for painting their nails, he said, "I'll tell them it's OK, because I did it."
[H/T: USA TODAY]