What We Pass On
I went and visited my kids during lunch the other day. I noticed several kids looking at me but didn’t think anything of it – I was dressed like someone who’s living their best life (workout leggings, a tank top, and a cardigan). A couple of days later as we were talking about the size of my car and the word fat, my son told me that one of his friends commented on how big I was. I asked him his response and he told me that he told his friend to be quiet. (Knowing my child I’m pretty sure it was ‘shut up’ but whatever). I explained to him that next time, he should just say, ‘You’re right; she is’ and move on. He shrugged his shoulders and kept eating his breakfast.
As the day went on, I thought about my responsibility in this. Should I lose weight so other kids won’t comment on it to my kids? What kind of mother was I – subjecting my kids to having to defend me? Let me just say, I quickly got over that. No matter what I do, somebody’s kid is going to have something to say; I do have ‘boy’ hair after all and I’m not letting it grow out. Ever.
But I did think about parental responsibility and came to this conclusion – the only responsibility I have is to teach my kids that what others look like, how they dress, the car they drive, the house they live in, etc is off limits to discuss with others. Now, this is not some holier-than-thou, I never do that post. I can and have made comments on all of the above at various times in my life. But that doesn’t make it okay. And when I tell you that having children who absorb everything has made me want to stop that bad habit, I’m not lying. We are all entitled to our thoughts and observations, some of which may be true (I am fat), but we don’t have to share them with everyone or anyone. The words we say have power, whether we choose to accept it or not. I still vividly remember a group of boys shouting ‘Free Willy’ as I walked across the lawn in middle school (I told y’all I been fat) and some one very close to me calling me a ‘fat ass’ when I was 8.
And it’s not limited to what we say about others; we also have to be careful about how we talk about ourselves. Even though I know I could stand to lose some weight, my conversations are, ‘I need to eat healthier foods’, ‘I need to exercise so I can get stronger’, and ‘I need more sleep so I can think clearly and make better decisions’. I am raising the black Wonder Woman. She is an Amazon. But she has zero confidence issues. She is very comfortable in her body and I think it’s because I’ve always made her being the tallest and biggest girl in her class be okay. She loves to dance, and swims twice a week (hardcore swims y’all), and most importantly, she’s healthy. And size does not equal health (I’m not making that up – there’s research).
Listen friends, I firmly believe God gives us children to reveal the ugliest parts of ourselves. Places, conversations, and things I used to do, I can’t and won’t go to, have, or do in front of my children because I can’t pass on those habits to them. And even if something comes up when they’re not around, guilt creeps in and makes me think twice. Now I haven’t arrived, I’m working on it y’all, but let me ask you – what are you passing on to your kids?
Until next time…