Who would have thought the most popular villain among kids would be my new hero? I’m talking about Angelina Jolie. Last year she played the lead role in the Disney film Maleficent. And this weekend her performance won her the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Villain. But as far as I’m concerned, Jolie deserves an award for what she said after winning. She delivered a message I try to impart to my kids every day: “Different is good.” For kids with learning and attention issues, this is such an empowering message. My kids don’t want to be different, especially my middle-schooler. To him, different means “less than” or “stands out from the crowd.” But while my son stands out from the crowd, he is never less than. He thinks differently, which in my mind is something to celebrate. He’s not ready to see that yet. I will ask him to watch this speech with me because I hope it will help him see the power of being unique. Jolie is an amazingly accomplished woman. She walks to a different beat and seems so comfortable in her own skin. But in her speech, she shared that as a child, she, too, felt like she stood out. She said she was “too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still,” all of which apply to my kids as well. Of course, as a mom raising a child with ADHD, I laughed a little when she told kids, “don’t sit still.” But I heard it as part of a bigger message to not compromise who you are—to channel differences and energy into passions. These are all things I want my children to learn how to do. I want them to know that different is good. And I want to thank my new hero, Angelina Jolie, for making this point loud and clear. Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.