Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thigh Gap and other nonsense

My 8 year old has a rockin' thigh gap.

Not familiar with thigh gap? You must not be a tween aged girl or fitness obsessed 20 something. Google the term, you will get some pictures of what some call beauty.

Lucky for me, my 8 year old doesn't know it is considered cool to have said thigh gap. She also doesn't know that the "cool kids" are often the ones who pretend they don't care about school, she doesn't know what a rainbow loom is, or that clothing from Justice is in for kids her age. She is into legos and robots, superhero comics and American girl dolls. Because she is 8. She has never had a "boy friend" or even pretended to, but she has a lot of little boys she like to talk about minecraft with.

Maybe it is because we homeschool, maybe it is her personality, whatever it is, I am pretty sure I can take no credit for her general disinterest in things that are popular. Her drummer beats and she happily marches on beat.

I struggle with this sometimes. I want a kid who generally fits in with her peers, but I don't want the kid who follows along with what everyone else does just because someone told her it was cool. I want her (and all of my kids) to stand up for what is right, for what they believe, for those who are picked on...but I want the to have friends and get invited to birthday parties too. I want her to be measured by her peers and found worthy while at the same time not give a flying rats ass what her peers think of her. And then again, I don't want her measured at all.

Thigh gap, like so many other measures of beauty, is ridiculous. It reduces a female down to the space between her legs and then calculates worth forgetting that we are not the sum of our measurements and that our beauty is inherent because we are divinely created. But what about the other measures of worth we throw at people? Are they any less ridiculous?

Want to know a secret? Eliana reads at grade level, but just barely. Reading is NOT her thing, which blows my mind because my favorite pass time is devouring books. Yes, she loves to be read to. Yes, she can read and decode words. Somehow my ego is strangely tied to her reading ability. Maybe it is because I am her teacher so her success and failures somehow feel like they reflect on me. And I have reduced my kid, and my ability as her teacher, down to something as stupid as thigh gap.

It is a strange dichotomy, the fact that we as people don't come in "standard units" of body size or intelligence and yet we are obsessed in creating a world where we should all be at the same level and measured by the same stick. Human worth is not quantitatively measured. We homeschool because of this, the deep belief that everyone has an inherent right to there own path and successes.

Today my goal is to throw away all units of measurement. I will do my best to enjoy the journey with my kids without sucking the joy out of our day by comparing us to others. I will forget things like grade levels and focus on the fun in learning and the light in my kids eyes when they grasp a concept. I will use Eliana as my example on how to not care what everyone else thinks.

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