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Labels & Illusions – Guest Commentary by Pam Thomas

April 12, 2010

This story comes from my dear friend Pam Thomas (pictured) who experienced something from which we can all learn.  At a very young age, children fall victim to LIES that seem to materialize out of nowhere.  But how we respond to them can make a big difference in how they see themselves in spite of the messages they’re exposed to every day.

This year on Easter Sunday, my family and I were gathered outdoors enjoying the beautiful sunshine and all the day had to offer.  We’d just finished eating a great meal, and the kids were running around in the grass, playing games and swinging on their swing set.

My 3-year-old has a knack of twirling while she swings.  While my 4-year-old has mastered swinging, she hasn’t developed the skill of twirling and swinging simultaneously.  On Sunday, frustrated by her inability to do what her younger sister does so easily, she whimpered and cried.

Sitting on the deck, observing all this, I finally asked her to come to me and explain why she was crying. She said, “I want to twirl like Nollie but my bottom is too big.”  Stunned, I immediately asked her, “Who told you that? Where did that come from?”  Her response: “Nobody.”

At that moment, I knew no four year old could come up with such an Illusion or Label — not all by herself. It was fed to her by an outside influence. My heart ached as I witnessed my baby be affected by LIES™.

A family member whispered, “Don’t worry about it.”  But as a mother, I wanted to know who said this hurtful thing to my precious daughter? Who hurt her in my absence?  I know her bottom is not too big…but rather it’s perfect, just the right size for a 4 year old! (Funny thing is… in some places in the world, a big bottom is the ultimate!)

Sharing this story with friends, and having the chance to spend some quiet time and reflect, it became clear to me that I had bought into the Label and Illusion of what society says is acceptable or perfect.  The TRUTH of the matter is I was reacting to society’s LIES™ about what is the ‘right size’ for a little girl’s bottom.

My response to my precious daughter was, “Sweetheart, you have the perfect sized bottom.  Your bottom has nothing to do with your ability to twirl. It’s the way you’re doing it.  Let Mommy show you how to do it.  Then, all you need to do is practice.  You’ll be so happy and proud of yourself when you can do this.”  I told her to continue practicing — practice makes perfect. I knew she’d celebrate her triumph!

UPDATE: On Easter Monday, my daughter mastered simultaneous swinging and twirling!!!

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