And this one’s for the girls…

I feel strongly compelled to write about an issue that is hitting me square between the jaw, as I am a mother of three young girls as well as a teacher who interacts with girls of many different ages each and every day.

Body image.

It is something that young girls begin thinking about as young as kindergarten. And it often dictates their eating habits, fashion choices, leisure activities, friendships, relationships and self-confidence levels from that point on.

I am really concerned that we as adults are not doing enough to assure young girls that their bodies (and indeed, their soul and sense of spirit connected to which) are amazingly suited for them as individuals no matter the shape or size it might come in. I am really concerned that the message to change the package and make it better, sleeker, more stream-lined, better functioning, more attractive, and just plain improved from its original model is coming from us- the adults. A message which states that they should look less like the original and more like whatever is best for the moment.

I am really concerned that our young boys are discovering at ever younger ages that this is a sore-point with their female counterparts and as such, they know from listening to the adults that girls should look a certain way, eat a certain amount, exercise and dress a certain way. And if the girls don’t, somehow the memo came down to the boys at ever younger and younger ages that it was okay to let the girls know how they could improve. And then some.

And I am even more concerned that the girls themselves have it in their heads that they can lord it over each other- that if they happen to ‘have the goods’, it is their God-given right then to make the ‘other’ girls feel ‘less than’. Turning friend against friend. Sister against sister.

Friends, this ought not to be so. We need to stop this, one person at a time. We can make a difference. We can.

We need to stop RIGHT NOW sending these messages to our children that special is a size. That better is a number. That best is a weight or a proportion. That beautiful is one size fits all.

Because we know within our heart-of-hearts. It’s not. We know that the people we truly love are more than just a shell. They are what’s inside. The package fades, the soul does not.

I want my daughters to know that I will FIGHT TO THE GRAVE so that they come to know and appreciate their worth as individuals. I will fight to the grave so that they come to see that their personal value must be in things of substance, not shallow fading fancies. And I will crusade TO THE END for this: for all those kindergarten girls I teach, for all those in-between girls I coach and mentor, for all those older girls I talk and listen to. They are not a number. A shape. A shell.

Yes, they are body. But they are also soul. And radiant spirit. Personality. Character. And so much more. And at the end of the day, it matters not what they look like. It matters what they are.
It matters who they are completely.