My son turned 18 in the middle June.
At his My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic-themed birthday party a friend of his had said that, he didn't understand.
He tried to watch My Little Pony on Nextflix but just couldn't get into it. He didn't understand why my son liked it. He couldn't understand the draw.
My son answered simply, watch the documentary on Netflix called Bronies.
It had given me quite a bit to think about.
My son's autistic and although I know he fully understands why he likes My Little Pony (generation 4) and its values, he might not be able to explain it... and because I also consider myself a Brony that burden falls onto me.
But to begin, I think we need to take a step away from Bronies and the TV show.
I wholeheartedly believe each and every one of us (knowingly or not) follows a Belief-System.
Sure, many are institutional religions for many people. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc.
I'm positive for many it's a selection of a bit of this and a bit of that.
There are other Belief-Systems that are less acknowledged or readily identified as such.
Atheism can be a Belief-System (much to the chagrin of many Atheists I know, because they want their Belief-System to be simply Fact, and beyond reproach or question - a sure sign of fundamentalism).
But the point in all this is that we all adhere or follow some sort of Belief-System, whether we can identify, label or name it; whether it's an official religion or not. We all follow some sort of Belief-System (good or bad) that regulates and guides our moral compasses.
My Little Pony, Friendship if Magic, and the entire concept of Bronies (and yes, you Pegasisters too) embraces the core values of the Elements of Harmony.
Kindness, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, Laughter, and Friendship.Yes, yes, I know superficially it sounds like a little girl's tacky show, but when you give it a bit more thought... you'll realize it's anything but.
These are core spiritual values, and not to be taken lightly.
These are the foundation pieces of nearly every religion and form of spirituality out there.
The difference is that with "Bronydom" we don't see the horrible atrocities committed in the name of religion as we see in official institutional religions. We don't see the conditions we see in many world religions ("you can only be saved if you're one of us" or the veiled hatred, "you'll burn in hell for eternity if you don't..."). We don't see evangelizing or proselyting (either aggressively or passively). These dreams of Empire simply do not exist within the concept of "Bronydom".
What I found revealing is that in an interview with Lauren Faust (the show's creator), she was asked
To which she answered,
"I considered them finite... though I had toyed with the idea of opposing Elements of Discord..." The Elements of Harmony, pg. 80
This is interesting, especially if you consider what these opposing Elements of Discord might be.
What are the opposites of Kindness, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, Laughter, and Friendship?
Cruelty, Envy & Jealousy, Deceit & Delusion, Betrayal, Fear, and Hatred?We might debate exactly what each may or may not be, but they ultimately would encompass these extremely harmful traits.
We seen these traits throughout history.
We have seen the damage, corruption, and evil they inspire. They are the enemy to be battled - usually internally.
~ ~ ~
So, if my son has chosen to embrace and follow this Belief-System, not only am I glad for him, I'll embrace it too!
This is what the world needs.
I realized I was seeing something wonderful in my son.
In a word, Bravery.
Google the word bravery and you get a lot of images. Most are 'manly' images, war, soldiers; what we might call macho.
But it isn't what bravery is, is it?
Bravery isn't about being tough or fearless. Bravery necessitates fear. The difference is that those who are brave overcome their fear, their insecurities and push forward anyway.
My son's friend at his My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic-themed birthday party didn't ask his question out of curiosity. It was a pointed question. It was meant to embarrass, belittle and mock. I know. I was there. It wasn't the words he spoke but how he spoke these words. This coming from a church-going, religious, God-fearing Catholic.
That my son returned a caring and non-confrontational answer isn't what made him brave. It's that he chose to have a theme at his birthday party that he loved regardless of what some might say.
And I'm proud of him.
And I try to take my lessons from him too.