Have you viewed the “Perfect 10” gymnastic floor sequence?
My daughters and I have been enthralled by Katelyn Ohashi’s outstanding gymnastics performances.
I seized the moment to talk to my 8 year old about body image, societal expectations and reality. As we watched the videos, I asked my daughter, “what do you notice about her body?” My daughter commented on her flexibility and high jumps.
We talked about being a gymnast and the muscular structure necessary to do those amazing exercises.
I shared more of what i had learned about this gymnast–about how criticism of her body led her to almost lose her love of this sport. How when she listened to other people she forgot that she was made beautiful and powerful and strong and talented.
And what a loss it would have been because she brings joy and inspiration to so many now through her performances.
I paused the video a couple times and pointed out the muscles in her hips and thighs. We noted how her rear end jiggled a little bit. And then my daughter sighed, “i have skinny legs. Theyre not strong like hers.” So we talked more about comparison being unfair. We discussed being grateful for the body God gave us and taking care of it–and understanding it is unique, with mom and dads genes mixed differently in each sibling and the wonderful gift our bodies are.
I read that 8 year old girls are at the pinnacle of their body self esteem; saddening me. How I treat and speak of my own body is the beginning to my daughters’ self talk.
May I be kind and gentle.
Heres something awesome: I float very easily, making an ocean swim delightful!