In a viral video that has nearly 2 million views, a little girl named Leila Danai shared a story about how she stood up for herself after a boy at school said he didn't like her hair:
On the way home from school, 3-year-old Leila tells her mom, "Owen didn't like my hair, but I said, 'I like it.' He said, 'I don't like that hair, that hair is ugly.' And I said, 'My mommy made it. If you don't like it, I'll keep it for myself.'"
Her mom can then be heard saying, "I'm so proud of you. You stood up for yourself, that's what matters. What matters is that you like it. It's your hair. I'm proud of you, darling. Good job standing up for yourself."
The combination of Leila's wise words and her adorable-ness made the video instantly shareable.
And this isn't the first time Leila has gone viral. She has also gone viral for sharing a song she sings about boundaries:
Singing "The Boundaries Song" from Hopscotch, Leila sings, "Please stop, I don't like that. I'm feeling uncomfortable. I need more space. Not around me, don't take it personally. That's just a boundary. That's a boundary."
BuzzFeed spoke to Leila's mom, Mildred Munjanganja, who runs Leila's TikTok account. She first started taking videos of Leila to share with her parents who live in Zimbabwe. "I shared them on TikTok for my family — I did not realize that so many people would be captivated by her positive energy and feel inspired by my parenting style," she said.
"Leila and I talk about our day, what challenges we faced, and what we enjoyed every day — either on our ride from school or before bedtime," Mildred said, adding that she was in awe at how inspiring Leila was in the video about her hair. "She handled the feedback about her hair with a great attitude and kindness while still instilling a boundary. I was proud of how she handled a situation that could have broken her spirit."
And Mildred said she receives lots of messages from women who say Leila's videos make them feel empowered and are helping heal their inner child. "The page has created a greater purpose than I originally set out to do," said Mildred happily.
"Children go to school every day and spend countless hours with their peers; there are bound to be instances that arise as they learn to navigate their emotions and master ways of communicating effectively. I think what is important is to teach our kids how to handle different situations to arm them with age-appropriate emotional intelligence and help them learn how to hear things without internalizing unkind words or experiences. It's important to me that no matter what Leila encounters, she is equipped with the ability to survive it!"
Mildred's final thoughts are, "Our children are like a blank canvas — if we pour love into them, it's exactly what will come out. Parenting is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done with my life, and investing my time into helping Leila become the best version of herself is an honor. I am lucky to have been granted that role and humbled by the outpouring of love and recognition all over the world."