Friday, December 28, 2007

A missed teaching moment

I am fat. I know it. But, the issue of this post is how to deal with little kids that state the obvious much to the embarrassment of their parents.

There is a certain age, say four or five or six, where little kids state the obvious. And while taught to be honest, they don't quite understand why they are in trouble with their parents.

When I laugh, I jiggle. This is fascinating to little kids. Or, maybe I remind them of Jabba the Hut in the Star Wars movie they just got to see.

The conversation goes something like this:

"Hey, lady, you are fat!"

(Their mortified parents call their name in such a manner and tone that they know they are in trouble, but are not sure just why, and so it does not seem fair.)

"But, mom, she IS fat !"

What should I say in such circumstances?? It is somehow okay to tell people they are beautiful, handsome, good, loved, but how do we teach children tact? How do we tell them it is not good manners to point out the obvious for example, that they are missing a limb, short, ugly, different?

I used to tell my boys when they were little the lame, "well, we don't want to hurt their feelings". Being short or ugly or missing a limb is not something folks can easily fix or change. Fat, is another issue. Fat is bad. Fat is unhealthly. Fat is repulsive. Fat is dangerous. And it does not matter if you go to the doctor's office to seek treatment for that sore throat or hacking cough, the doctor and nurses will be sure to point out you are fat, in case you had not walked by a mirror lately.

Any ideas??


Lisa said...

I don't know how well you could get away with this as the "victim" of the comments, but the parents should definitely have a plan in place beforehand or they'll find themselves struck silent.

We have a plan for Mary and William and thankfully, their one comment happened in the privacy of our car as we passed by a person of perhaps indian descent, who had very dark skin. "She's very dirty!" I told Mary that God is very creative and He makes all people different in some ways. He has a lot of colors in his crayon box and he can make people big and small and they are all so beautiful to Him. BUT, it's not good manners to point out the differences because people don't always like to to be different. It's better to keep those comments to yourself or until you are alone with mommy to ask about them.

Next time, maybe you could try a little humor so as not to offend the parent either, "Yes, God used a bigger cookie cutter on me, but I don't like to brag about it so please don't tell any one else."

joyce said...

Good answer ! Thanks, Lisa !