How a First Grader Broke my Heart into a Million Pieces

Listen up society, we need to change the way we view people. In the media, all we hear about is who is looking super skinny, and which model just got some sort of body altering surgery, or someone who gained a zillion pounds and looks terrible. Well guess what, we need to change this.

I had a first grader, six years old, ask me if she was skinny today. And you know what my answer was: you are beautiful. Now mind you, this little girl has knobby knees, a beautiful smile, and a tiny little frame. But somewhere in her little head, she demanded to know if I thought she was skinny.
When I told her she was beautiful, she told me I didn't answer her question. So she asked me again. This time she sounded like she was pleading with me, like she needed to hear that that she was skinny. So my response: why do you want to know? To which she replied because all the pretty people are skinny and I hear grown ups always talking about diets and being thin and that makes them beautiful.

My heart broke. I looked her right in the eyes and I told her that she was beautiful and that yes she was skinny but that it didn't matter. I told her she had pretty hair and bright eyes. But I don't think she heard a word I said after I told her she was skinny.

I have a serious problem with this. I don't think that anyones self worth should be dependent upon their body image. But guess what, it is. Because we, as a society, have said that it should be. Not enough people care to change it. Not enough people actually believe that you can be beautiful if you aren't a size 2 model. Well guess what, I do.

And while it broke my heart today, it also enraged me. It made me furious that at six years old, a child is determining her self worth based on how the world sees her body. That is not okay with me. I will not and cannot throw in my white flag on this one.

I don't know when body image should become a topic of conversation. I feel like first grade is too young. But these kids are already concerned with their bodies and how the world views them. And that is not okay with me.

So society, I'm just letting you know that this is unacceptable. We should be building self confidence in children, not tearing them down.

So the next you you want to judge someone based on how they look, think of their six year old self staring back at you and hearing what you are thinking.

That's how a first grader broke my heart.


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