There are a lot of things I would prefer my kids not do….probably like there are many things my parents didn’t want me to do, but I did them anyway. I hope that at least I can instill some type of integrity in them and allow them to make the right choices and not get into too much trouble.
However, there is something that really gets to me. Something that I’ve heard so many people ask and I think it is at the heart of some serious issues and I really, really hope my children never ask it. A simple four word question:
Have you lost weight?
At the heart of it, this question sounds sweet and innocent, maybe even supportive, but to me it is much more. When someone asks this question it means they have been looking at you….but not just at you but DETAILING you, MEASURING you, COMPARING you. Maybe to your previous self, maybe to your twin, maybe to someone else, but they are looking at your physical being, remembering what you looked like however long ago and comparing you. This just makes me uncomfortable.
Why does it make me uncomfortable? It means that in previous conversations or interactions with this person, they were not looking in my eyes while talking to me, taking in the conversation that we were having and storing this for future knowledge. They were instead looking at the roundness of my face or body and taking a mental picture of what this looked like to compare me in the future. It makes me uncomfortable knowing that when someone looks at me across the room, they are looking me up and down, head to toe, measuring how tight my clothes are and how wide and fluffy my body is and storing that for future use to detail, measure and compare.
And I just don’t want my children detailing and measuring and comparing their friends. I want them to be connecting and deepening relationships through conversations. I hope my children see and hear that when we talk to people we are talking about their lives, digging into who they are or asking their advice or offering advice. I want them to know the joy of connecting with people on a deeper level and that we do not focus on the outside.
So I hope that my children never ask someone this simple but comparative question. I hope instead that they might look into someone’s eyes during conversations and find a deeper topic to talk about and focus on besides physical appearance. I hope they might learn about a future trip or dream or talent that the person has and the next time they meet them, ask that person about that. I hope that my children look into someone’s eyes and notice the beauty in their soul and the weight of happiness that they bear within instead of the weight on the outside.
image courtesy from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/