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You’ve probably seen the trending Internet photo of the week featuring a young dance class of princesses with the exception of one young lady who is dressed as a hot dog. It’s pretty adorable.

The first time I saw it, I was thrilled. I love stories like this one, of a child with an “outside the box” idea (who obviously had parents who supported her unique approach) becoming an inspirational message of authenticity to the Internet.

The second time I saw it, I was conflicted.

By that time, another fan of the photo had attached the slogan, “In a world full of princesses, dare to be a hot dog.”

At first sight, the phrase seems like nothing more than an inspirational message encouraging people to be different and stand out. But at the moment I saw it, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

You see, I’m a mom of two little girls, with a third on the way. Needless to say, princesses are a theme around here. When I read the new mantra attached to the photo, I had just finished helping my oldest out of a bath in which she had nearly overflowed the tub with bubbles, announcing that, “This must be how princesses take baths.”

I, of course, snapped a photo and uploaded it to my Facebook account with her quote attached. After doing so, I mindlessly scrolled for a minute, only to stumble upon the princess hotdog photo again.

“In a world full of princesses, dare to be a hot dog.”

And I felt conflicted. Like maybe I’m doing something wrong as a parent because I’m raising a princess instead of a hot dog.

And then I immediately decided that was crap.

Children can be brave, unique, authentic human beings, whether they are dressed as a princess or dressed as a hot dog. Slogans that imply that one display of authenticity is better than another send a message to our society and our children about how they “should” be rather than encouraging them to be who they are.

Which is the opposite of the real message in the photo. The hot dog princess wasn’t trying not to be a princess. She was just being a hot dog.

As a parent, I look at that photo and I know from personal experience the creativity, authenticity, and excitement that went into each and every costume. Each and every princess in that photo is, in one way or another, daring to be exactly who she is. 

That’s what I love most about children, and that’s one of the greatest lessons they can teach us about being brave and being authentic. They don’t do it to make a statement. They just love dressing up as a princess. Or a hot dog. 

In a world full of princesses and hot dogs, dare to be whatever you want to be.

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Megan Launchbaugh

Megan is a Nebraska native who is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She spent eight years working in the education field before studying to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. Most recently she has begun exploring stay-at-home-mommyhood while raising her two daughters in a blended family with her amazing husband. She loves taking pictures, ordering books from Amazon, wishing she could play the guitar, and planning what she will go back to school for next. She blogs about authenticity and raising authentic children and, when she isn't cleaning up toys or folding laundry, she can be found writing in her own little corners of the Internet. Keeper of the Snacks: Mommyhood Unedited http://www.keeperofthesnacks.wordpress.com/ Connect with Megan: Facebook http://www.facebook.com/keeperofthesnacks Twitter @keeperofsnacks

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