Thursday, January 25, 2007

Real Beauty

My daughter was getting ready to jump in the shower when she turned ot me and said, "I want to start working out with Dad."

Cool I thought. She can start learning about fitness and keeping herself healthy.

She continued, "Yeah, I need to work out because I'm getting fat." Then she looked in the mirror and sighed.

Screeeeeeeech!!!!

What?

Why is my 10 year old, size 14-slim girl calling herself fat? Where does she get that? We don't watch tv, we don't have any magazines in the house... well, Bon Appetit, but that doesn't have ANY articles on why anyone should be skinny. We're super selective about the movies we watch... the last "iffy" one we let her watch - with us, I might add- was Napoleon Dynamite and if anything, that one encourages youth to be themselves.

Have I contributed to that thought? Have I said anything to make her feel that she isn't good enough? Have I criticized myself to make her think that this is the natural way to think about yourself?

Probably. I have mentioned lately that I really need to start running again. But I never implicated that my daughter needed to do it too. It was always a "me" statement.

School is the only other place I can think where this awful, ugly lie started to rumor. I know that at this age, the self-doubt starts to creep into their hearts. One person may mention one slight in passing - not even meaning anything in passing - and a girl's mind will take it and run with all the things that are "wrong" with her.

How, oh how, can I stop this madness?

I asked her why she thought she was fat. She shrugged and then said, "I'm not really fat, but my legs are big."

This from a girl whose legs are the size of toothpicks...

I immediately challenged her comment. I reminded her of her jean size - slim is called slim for a reason. I told her that exercising will help her to feel better about her body and herself, but she doesn't need to lose any weight. Then I brought to her attention that she is a creation of the great Artist, and God only makes masterpieces. She smiled, ever-so-slightly smiled, at that thought.

Real beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Please remind someone of that fact today, especially if the person is a girl on the cusp of self-awareness.

I remember needing it when I was my daughter's age. Somethings never change.

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