A few days ago our son approached us about a friend who had called him “fat”, and said that it hurt his feelings and he wondered what he should have said or done. Now, this is almost as ridiculous as it is mean. This particular son of mine just happens to be in about the 25th percentile in weight for his age. So…you can see why maybe this particular insult was misinformed. But, it hurt his feelings just the same. So we chatted about kids and how sometimes they can say and do things that make us feel bad. We taught him some good old-fashioned comebacks…just for fun: sticks and stones, rubber and glue, pants on fire, etc…they all still apply. The sad thing is…adults are just as guilty of this bad behavior as kids.
In one of my challenge groups we were talking about the nay-sayers we face in our own families and circles of friends. You know, the ones who would mock, make fun of and belittle someone’s health and nutrition efforts. Why would anyone do that? Well, my explanation to my son about his friend was that sometimes a person doesn’t feel very good about themselves. Rather than changing what they don’t like, they attempt to build themselves up by tearing other people down. I think the same holds true for us grown-ups. Shame on us!
When we see someone pouring themselves into something we don’t quite understand, we should ask questions, express interest, or keep quiet. We should not insult or belittle. What could be better than someone trying to be their best self, inside and out (to borrow a phrase from my friend Carrie)? But I get the eye-rolls, and the comments, too: “I would only run if someone was chasing me”. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one! “Do you enjoy that bird food you eat?” Actually I do! Because it makes me feel good! You would never hear me mocking someone’s lack of exercise or greasy cheeseburger “value” meal! But what if I did? I could say something like, “Wow, looks like you haven’t worked out in a while!” or “Hey, I see you don’t give a crap about what you eat. Think there’s enough grease in your meal to clog ALL your arteries? ”. Nope, I wouldn’t do that. So why would anyone feel that it is ok to mock healthy lifestyle choices? I don’t get it.
Here’s my public service announcement: Choose your words wisely. Don’t insult what you don’t understand…yet! Ask questions. Express interest. Learn more about people! The more we learn about each other, the more we understand, experience and GROW! If you cannot act your age and refrain from negativity, than bite your tongue and listen. You might learn something without even trying. We’re all on our own journeys in life. We’re finding our ways, learning about the kinds of people we want to be. We tell our kids to be nice to each other: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, right? Let’s practice what we preach. Teach by example. Be excellent to each other. 😀