This morning, I had my back turned as my seven-year daughter jumped on the scale in our bathroom. She caught me completely off-guard.
“Does this number mean I am fat or skinny?” she asked, looking past her belly button at the blinking digits.
Crap. I thought for a second. Crap crap crap.
What could I say that was true–but also not likely to cause damage that will require therapy in her 30s? Something to help her avoid her mother’s teacherous relationship with that awful beastly machine? I don’t want her, for a second, to spend her days worrying about that number.
I took a deep breath and prayed that I was not standing in the middle of one of those look-back-damaging-parenting-moments.
But I also didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. I didn’t want her to think that number was a big deal that requires some long explanation either. So I moved quickly and I hoped for the best.
“That number measures the earth’s gravitational pull your body. That number doesn’t tell you anything, really.
“It’s like the fruit at the grocery store and that scale there, you know?—We don’t buy the fruit because of what it weighs. We buy it because it has so many good things inside. Lots of vitamins and good stuff, it taste delicious, and it makes you feel happy. Right? What the fruit weighs has nothing to do with how much we like the fruit.
“…So that number on the scale you are standing on doesn’t tell you anything right. It doesn’t say if you’re a kind person. That number doesn’t tell you how much your family loves you, or your favorite color. That number doesn’t tell you how talented, smart, and beautiful you are, and how fast of a runner you are.
“So basically that number is useless.”
And I held my breath.
She nodded. And said, “Oh, okay. Makes sense.”
…to be continued.