Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some thoughts

Last week we went out to dinner with our friend, Leslie, who was visiting from California. Her baby Sarah was born 2 days after Ezra but she is about twice his size! Look at the comparison! (Thanks for the cute pics, Leslie). It got me wondering...will Ez always be "the short guy"? Will he develop "Little Man's Syndrome" and feel the need to overcompensate or pick fights to prove himself? I hope that I can raise my children to be self-confident individuals who value themselves and know that their true worth doesn't lie in their outside appearance but in how they treat others, how they treat themselves, and how they understand their divine nature and their relationship to God, their Heavenly Father. I am very conscience about how I represent myself in front of Bella. I try not to talk about "dieting" in front of her but about eating and exercising to be "healthy and strong". I know that I am constantly telling Bella how cute and pretty she is and she whole-heartedly agrees. I love that about a 3 year old. She KNOWS she is beautiful. I also try to compliment her other great attributes so that not all of the emphasis is on her looks. I tell her how smart and sweet she is and I try to point out how helpful and thoughtful she is. We live in a world that is so consumed by looks and the facade of perfection. I hope I can age gracefully and accept my wrinkles, my sags, and my imperfections as outward evidence of my life's wisdom and experience. I will continue to strive to be "healthy and strong" and heck, how about a flatter bum while I'm at it? But, I vow not to obsess about it and to be a good example to my children on loving ourselves for who we are while trying to be the best me at the same time.

I love Elder Hollands thoughts on the subject in a talk entitled "To the Young Women". If you haven't read it in it's entirety, I encourage you to do so. Here is a great exerpt:

In this same vein may I address an even more sensitive subject. I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” 8 And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” 9 Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good. I mention adult women because, sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for these young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won’t be very surprised when your daughter or the Mia Maid in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be—that’s good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size.

Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard. As one Hollywood actress is reported to have said recently: “We’ve become obsessed with beauty and the fountain of youth. … I’m really saddened by the way women mutilate [themselves] in search of that. I see women [including young women] … pulling this up and tucking that back. It’s like a slippery slope. [You can’t get off of it.] … It’s really insane … what society is doing to women.”

What are your thoughts on the subject?


AshbyFamily said...

Good Post! If we raise our children to have confindence in themselves and express gratitude to the Lord for the blessings they do have...then we will have succeeded as Mothers'.
I love that talk by Elder Holland - I have another of his quotes on my fridge.

Amy said...

I loved your post. I was just having a conversation with a friend about this same topic today. I love how you are so conscious about what you say in front of Bella. Now that I have a daughter, I have thought about that a lot. I realize that I still struggle with my own feelings of self-doubt and I really need to overcome that so I'm not passing that on to Emma. Even though I know she can't understand me yet, I still always tell her how beautiful and wonderful she is! It is scary to see how the "world" is now and think of how much worse it will be by the time Emma gets older. It makes me realize how important my job as a mother is, and thankful that I'm not doing it all on my own, but that the Lord is there to help me.

KrisJ said...

Good job on the 8 lbs!! I cant believe you walked away from a caramel filled brownie, that takes some strength!! You do such a great job with the kids and Im betting Ez will catch up eventually but even if he is the little guy I know he will have all the confidence and sweetness to be a wonderful young guy!

estanworth said...

Can you tell that you are in YW? I think that it is great. As I talked to a friend who very quickly lost a bunch of weight after her new baby, she told me about sitting down with her oldest daughter who is 10 and telling her that mom was losing weight because she needed to be healthy, not because she was "fat". I thought that was such a good thing to do since we do live in a very superficial world today!