Shayla Mackie, a single mom from Oklahoma, recalls noticing the void of positive T-shirts while shopping for her daughter Madison. Thanks to a background in graphic design and with the help of some computer software, she decided to just make her own.
When Madison was feeling down about her natural hair, Shayla created a shirt to say "I love my skin, I love my eyes, I love my nose, I love my smile because I am beautiful," which led her to launch My Kinda Style, a clothing company focused on empowering themed messages and designs.
"So many t-shirts are all about cuteness and prettiness, but a girl has a brain as well," Shayla says as she explains her passion about kids and self esteem today.
Just a few months ago, parents were in an uproar over the tween girl's T-shirt sold on the JC Penney website stating: "I'm too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me." It has sparked a much-needed conversation: What's so cute about diminishing your child's self worth?
Many people thought the controversy was overblown and that parents needed to lighten up. But when most of the choices in department stores feature messages about appearance, strengthening the stereotypes women and men wish to combat, where do we draw the line?
As parents, we must teach our children to think positively. Negative affirmations -- yes, even silly ones on a T-shirt -- can have a lasting effect. What our kids think, say and wear will reflect a parent's positive (or negative) reinforcement. Also remember that you are your kid's most important role model.
Shayla's story is a powerful lesson for her daughter, who she says loves the inspiring tees and helps her think of new designs. Raising Madison as a teen mom, she finished college with a degree in Business Management and knows first hand how important self esteem is for girls. She hopes to release new T-shirt styles geared toward older girls and boys at the first of the year.
My Kinda Style also includes a mission of giving back. Shayla has launched a section on her website to nominate a kid or children's charity so that she can outfit them with her positive shirts, spreading her message to one child at a time.
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