Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Story of the day - For there to be winners there's got to be losers.

Suzie said to her husband John when he got home from work, "Sophie came home crying today because the cheerleading coach told her if she didn't work harder she'd be cut from the team. She thinks she's fat so she said she is skipping dinner."

"She's not fat," said John. "What would make her think such a thing?"

"She's only in sixth grade, but developing faster than the other girls, and they may be jealous so they are teasing her. You know how girls can be? Or maybe you don't," said Suzie.

"So she thinks starving herself is going to stop her breast and hip development?" said John.

"I don't know," said Suzie. "Kids at this age are so competitive, and catty, and worried about fitting in and being popular. Everyone wants to be a winner and, of course, for there to be winners, there's got to be losers. Some people are just going to be the losers that's how the pecking order for the pre-teen, and young teenagers works."

"I remember when I was kid that age, I would complain to my mother that things weren't right, things weren't fair, things shouldn't be the way they were, and she'd say to me 'John, who have no right to complain unless you can do it better.' And I've walked around since that time muttering to myself, 'I can do it better, I can do it better, I know I can do it better.'"

"So that's where your self righteous indignation comes from," said Suzie laughing.

"Oh, yeah," said John. "I love to blame dear old mom for screwing me up."

"Honey, your desire for things to be right, and your honesty, and humility are what attracted me to you. If you were an arrogant know it all, it wouldn't be attractive, but because of your honesty and humility and willingness to admit if you can't do it better, it works for you," said Suzie.

"So what do we do to help, Sophie? She's got to eat." said John.

"You need to talk to her," said Suzie. "Coming from a man and her father is probably more important that it coming from me. Tell her whether she gets on the team or not is not important. What's important is that she do her best and the chips will fall where they may, she can't control that. And if she is cut it certainly won't be because she is fat, she is just right, and her body is changing just as Mother Nature intended and that you love her no matter what."

"God that's good," said John. "I hope I can remember all that."

And he did, and Sophie listened, and ate her dinner. The moral of the story is that love trumps torturing yourself, turning yourself into somebody you aren't, to win and fit in. Amen. May it be so.

3 comments:

  1. Fathers are very important to the development of their children. Why they get ridiculed and mocked in our media is very unfortunate. I can't imagine mothers getting the same treatment without an uproar. Just another way that our society is unfair and disrespectful.

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  2. The lies and seduction of anorexia and bulimia are created by these kind of temptations to win at all costs, and to please others to belong. This ethic of winning is everything can lead to death as we have seen in Karen Carpenter and countless others.

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    1. Sheila you have and excellent point. When our daughter was anorexic I blamed myself that somehow I was a bad mother but the more I learned, I don't think this is true any more. The messages from our society for young girls are much more pernicious. It's a problem too for boys especially when they are wrestlers and try to "cut weight" to qualify to wrestle at a lower weight class.

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