I had a moment today when I was listening to someone talking to Bode and Harley Love.
The person was saying goodbye to Bode and said, “Make sure you keep playing chess.” Then, Harley Love stepped up to say goodbye, and they said, “And, you just stay beautiful.”
And, it dawned on me that those are the sorts of comments that drive our kids’ visions and goals and expectations of themselves.
Bode is heading out on his day thinking about how he can keep challenging his mind and improve on a skill. Harley Love, on the other hand, is heading out on her day thinking about how people are looking at her physical appearance and how she can keep up with her looks…and, not bother using her brain to accomplish things.
The saddest part, for me, of the whole thing was the way she reacted to the whole interaction: without saying a word. She didn’t even argue with an, “I want to learn how to play chess!” She just stayed quiet, accepted the comment, and walked away likely thinking about how to “stay beautiful”.
I don’t think we need to be overprotective of our children, but I do think it’s important to not pretend that these mindsets are OK or assume that they are being written off as wrong. We can’t control what our children hear or the world that they live in, but we can help control how they process all of it. And, it’s our responsibility to do just that. I’m just grateful to have been there to hear it so we can now, as a family, talk about what a healthy inner dialogue is to have in response.