Be Careful Little Eyes

I weigh myself daily. I record my weight in a journal everyday. This is before I have a sip of water or a cup of coffee. This is right after I’ve gone to the bathroom to ensure I weigh as little as possible. This is before I read my daily affirmation on my calendar. This is before I wake my daughter for school. This is my routine. Everyday.

I’ve never thought much about this, until I found a little blue sticky note, where in pencil in a child’s hand my daughter had recorded her weight twice. My seven year old. My heart sank with the realization that my seven year old is concerned about her weight. But in today’s society, it wouldn’t be unheard of. In a home where her mother is weight conscious, it’s not a bit surprising either. If we don’t think for one second our kids are watching our every move, we are fools. We are being watched, listened to, and even more important to note, we are being imitated.

I chart my weight in order to stay on top of it because if I don’t, it can easily get out of control. Would I like to lose weight? Sure would. But I try to be very careful what I say around my kid that is weight related. When I was a kid, my mom always said she was fat. So I thought she was fat, because kids have this trusting tendency to believe everything grownups tell them. Right or wrong. When I see pictures of my mom from my childhood (very few), she is not fat at all. She’s just regular. An average mom who thought she was fat. So I get that, I really do. I don’t want to pass that one on. So I am cautious to not speak of myself as fat or turn my nose up at myself in the mirror with a  big UGH.

We know how society is affecting our young children, especially girls, with its supermodels, photoshopped pictures and airbrushed glossy magazine covers. That’s all true.  My mind was put at ease when I learned that my daughter is tracking her weight because she is wanting to gain weight so she can outgrow her booster seat. Isn’t that just like a kid, trying to grow up before their time?

But this sticky note put a lot of thoughts in motion for me. It gave me an opportunity to  pause a moment and look hard at myself. My words. My actions. Our kids are living in the world we create for them. What are they seeing? What are they hearing? What are they imitating?

Do they see us lash out at the people we profess to love the most after a hard day at work? Do they see us lose our temper and hear us curse? Do they see our frustrations and road rage? Do they hear us complain about everything….the service, they traffic, the wait, the co-workers, the teachers, the bills. Do they listen to us gossiping with friends and making fun of others? Do they see us give money to the man with the cardboard sign? Do they hear us apologize when we’re wrong, and sometimes, we are. Do they hear us compliment a stranger’s shoes or see us drop what we’re doing to a lend a helping hand? Do they see us staring at our phone at every red light or line we wait in? Do they see us praising God, even in hard times, and down on our knees in prayer?

This little blue sticky note in my child’s handwriting was a huge Note to Self. It reminded me of how powerful my influence is on those around me. Not just kids, but most importantly kids. Most importantly this one kid. Remember I said she was sleeping when I do my weighing and charting? Well, not every time obviously. There are times she’s watching. And listening. And imitating.

So are others.

Never underestimate the power you have. You can have such an important impact on others. You may not think your words and actions are making a difference, but they are. You make a difference. Make sure it’s a good one.

Favorites

I did not marry a literary kind of man.   I, on the other hand, love books, articles, the written word.  I come alive in bookstores and libraries calm me.  I love the smell of a new book, the way it has a little creak when you open it.  I do not own an electronic reading device and I still make trips to the local library to choose my books.

When I read something that speaks to me, whether it’s a book, a character, descriptive language, a quote, whatever, I always want to share it with someone.  This someone happens to be my husband.

I don’t know how long after we were married, after I had orated paragraph after paragraph of various topics to him, that  my husband informed me he hated being read to.  It just about broke my heart.  So now, I carefully choose my sharing times and always ask him if I can please read something to him.  He’s never told me no, he just endures it.  As is the husband’s job in marriage.  It should have been in the vows.

But before you start feeling sorry for me, just know that my little girl, EK, loves books.  Even thought she is only almost 8 months old, she shows delight in them.  She loves to pull every one off the shelves, chew on their covers, and eat their pages, which I think must be a sign of fondness.  Or genius.  Or perhaps just a nutritional deficiency, I guess only time will tell.

I get a free magazine called The Country Life.  It comes out quarterly and gives tips and inspirations for country living.  Things like how to arrange a fall flower container and the top 10 tools needed to get your home ready for winter.  Stuff like that.

But the very last part is an article written by a guy named Brent Olsen.   It’s very excellent writing in my opinion and makes you feel like all is right in the world.  So I asked my husband if I could read it to him, and even he agreed it was good.

And because I love to share things that speak to me, I now share it with you.

“Fall is a wonderful time of year.  A deep breath on a crisp morning expunges moist, stale pockets of air that have been cluttering your lungs all summer.  There’s a sense of urgency, an acceleration of pulse and ambition that turns the tired, sweaty trudge of summer into a brisk walk through falling leaves.  Winter is about enduring and dreaming, spring is unreasonable optimism, summer is growth and fruition-new potatoes and fresh tomatoes.  But fall is for planning and preparing.

It’s also about sitting on the patio in a worn wool sweater and warming your hands one the swirl of steam rising from a coffee cup.  It’s about walking across a darkened yard and seeing a flight of geese cross the face of a full moon.  It’s about settling in, relishing the sights and sensations of a world slowing down.

A house warmed by the memory of a sore back and splinters, and a kitchen table blessed by food there as a result of dirty fingernails, sunburn, and compost is a great and generous gift.  Enjoy your fall—we are each granted a finite number of them, and it is a vast mistake to let any go by without cherishing the moments that make them real.”

Fall and words:  these are a few of my favorite things.

And you?  What are your favorite things?