Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Benefit of the Doubt, Part 2

Yesterday, I took my family swimming. At our usual swimming spot, there is a shallow area that is enclosed in a ring of stone that we call the lagoon. My daughters (age 11, 12, and 15) prefer to get into the water in the lagoon, and Diana and I as well as my son usually get in in another area where the water is deeper.

Yesterday, shortly after we had arrived, the girls came running over from the lagoon. They didn't want to stay there because there were some other kids there (teens really) who had been making fun of them because they are thin. The other kids were teasing them because their ribs show. *I* get teased at the beach because I am fat. Now my kids are getting teased because they are thin. It seems there is always judging!

Now I could have gone and hollered at those kids or been angry. Instead I reminded my kids that they are beautiful and that if they were fat they would have been teased too. (They said they knew. My kids have no doubts that they are beautiful!) Then we talked about how those kids may have been insecure and may have been raised with parents who make fun of them. We also talked about what a negative environment public school can be and how most likely those kids are exposed to that environment regularly.

In other words, instead of condemning the other kids, we gave them the benefit of the doubt. It works for us. We had no hard feelings and went on to have a great swim.

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