Saturday, May 26, 2012

Improving Self Image

 "Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs." ~ Joan Didion

When I'm out and about, shopping, walking the dog, or whatever, I've noticed the increasing number of obese kids.

Now, I know there are multiple  reasons for the prevalence of this phenomena,among them, the sedentary lifestyle brought on by the ease of access to video games and home computers. There also appears to be, in spite of Michelle Obama's anti-obesity, eat healthy campaign, more and more kids who don't eat healthy.

Or do they?

School cafeterias have gone to, what I believe, ridiculous lengths to force kids, at least while they are at school, to eat nothing but "healthy foods", but it seems to me the more they push healthy eating on the kids, the fatter they get. What do they do? Eat the healthy food at lunch, and then come home and pig out on Ho-Ho's?


This observation is slightly off topic, but over the years, I've noticed most vegetarians look physically unhealthy, and yes, obese, too. I wonder if perhaps healthy eating is not so healthy as the so-called experts would have us believe. 

Then there's low self esteem. That certainly would help create a poor self image in a child.

Listen. I want to make it clear that I have no scientific studies or research to reference here. This is only my own observations and theories. I cannot prove anything. This is just me and my "out of Left field" perspective sort of thinking out loud, in text, so to speak.

OK. So we have a sedentary lifestyle combined with unhealthy eating, and low self esteem. Could there be other things?


I am beginning to think there is one more demon hiding in the closet.

Political  Correctness.

Throughout the last couple of decades our society has been pushing sensitivity training on kids They've also been obsessing over kid's self esteem. Perhaps they have pushed this agenda overboard just a tad?

Have we become a little overmuch sensitive?


No doubt we need to do what we can to help a child feel good about himself, but shouldn't some of the responsibility fall to the child? What I mean is, we want the child to want to feel good about himself. Right? If there is an issue with his self esteem, shouldn't we encourage him to make some changes in his self image himself instead of merely accepting him as he is to spare his feelings?

We, as a society, are so busy trying not to hurt his feelings, that we have forgotten to pay attention to how all our efforts are affecting him.

Stay with me here. I'm about to get radical.

To set this thought up, I'm going to ask my older readers to remember back to your school days. Do you remember the "different" kids? How were they treated by the other kids?

That's right. They were picked on. And, dare I say this out loud? They were bullied.

Look. I understand how being bullied makes a child feel. I was bullied as a child because I was short. I mean really short. When I was a Sophomore in high school, I was so short I had to sit on a phone book in Driver's training. I was the shortest kid in High School when I was a Junior, including the girls. I didn't have  my growth spurt until between my 11th and 12th grade years.

Did I have low self esteem? You bethcha!

But, you know what? I learned to deal with it and I grew out of it.

But being short is not something one can change. Obesity can be cured. And, while I'm on the subject. So can a host of other things that can negatively effect self image. Obesity, hygiene, and, homosexuality.

When I was in school, fat kids, dirty kids, and kids that acted like a fairy were bullied unmercifully, and guess what? If they didn't want to be picked on, they lost weight, they took showers and washed their clothes, and the effeminate boys stopped acting and dressing like girls. And tomboys started acting and dressing like girls.

If they didn't, they got bullied further.

I knew a girl in elementary school that was bullied because she was dirty. Apparently, she learned how to solve that problem, because by high school she was very popular with the boys. Do you think, back in the sixties, she received sensitivity training? Do you think her bullies did?

Not in the sixties.

I think if we want our children to grow up with an improved self image and be more normal adults, we need to stop coddling them. We need to allow them to stand on their own two feet and fight their own personal demons. And we need to encourage them to buck up and stop being so sensitive.

We had  lot fewer fat kids in our school in those days. We had a lot less dirty kids. We had very few homosexual kids.

As radical as it sounds, I think being bullied was an important factor in straightening up some of these low self esteem issues. It forced the bullied kids to change themselves for the better.

Perhaps we need to give the bullies some leeway. In a sort of backwards way, they have helped make America strong.

17 comments:

Jim said...

When I was 12, I moved from a military base in Virginia to a small town in California. I was bullied because my name sounded similar to an animal species name and because I pronounced the word aunt like "want" and not "ant". I was always proud of my name and my upbringing, so I had no issues with self esteem.

Should I have changed my name or the way I correctly spoke English in order to avoid bullying? How would that have helped my self esteem?

Mark said...

Well , Jim, you could have, but not everybody who gets picked on have difficulty handling it.

I dealt with mine by showing the bullies that I may be small but I could hold my own in a fight. I never lost one, and eventually, word got around..."Don't mess with the little guy".

But, then as I mentioned, people bully people over things they can change, and if they don't make an effort to change, they pretty much deserve what they get.

I am surprised you didn't get all apoplectic over my post. You must not have read it all.

Jim said...

I read every bit of it. I pretty much DID get apoplectic. This was one of the more astonishing posts I've read from your bunch, and that's saying a lot. I was speechless for the first two hours, trying to figure out where to start.

I won't get into the "homosexuality causes low self-esteem" bullshit. Nor will I discuss the utter bull crap about homosexuality being "cured". That would end up being another 100 comment post with no resolution.

So I brought up the point that you have put the onus of bullying on the victim and assumed that the victim has low self-esteem or any reason to have low self-esteem. Being different does not equate to being deficient.

people bully people over things they can change, and if they don't make an effort to change, they pretty much deserve what they get.

Are you f**king kidding me?

Why would I deserve what I get for refusing to change my name or the way I properly pronounce a word?

Your entire premise is absurd, starting with the assumption that bullies are clean, slim, straight, and tall.

But whatever. If you think you grew up to be a better man because you were bullied, well, God bless ya.

I'm still scratching my head.

Marshall Art said...

I must say that I don't agree that anyone deserves bullying. However, I believe a line exists between bullying and mere teasing, even when teasing is done to hurt the feelings of the teased. That is to say that teasing can mean the teaser is a mere jerk, while the bully is always far worse. Such a distinction might be lost on the victim, however, and I totally appreciate that fact. Hell, even when no malice is intended, teasing can be hurtful. But bullying, as the term means to me, as I've seen it take place, is never justified or should be given any leeway such as suggesting the victim should change or else they pretty much deserve it. Never.

But this doesn't mitigate the fact that some who are teased or bullied can, and possibly should, take steps to alter what has drawn the negative attention, though once the bullying starts, the victim will continue to be seen as a target by the bully no matter what the victim does in that regard.

If any child within my sphere of influence reported being a victim of bullying, I would indeed look to see if there was anything the child could do to change what it was that drew the attention of bullies. But more importantly would be my concern that they weren't taking it in a manner that would lead to tragic action on the child's part. I would let them know in no uncertain terms how much they mean to me, how valuable I believe them to be simply because they exist.

But they do need to stand in. They can't run all their lives and dealing with such an event will build their self-esteem in a more proper manner than the false esteem building so popular with the politically correct crowd. Bullying will never be eliminated any more than others sins of have been eliminated because of the laws of either God OR man. The focus needs to be on how to deal with it, be it by just toughing it out, learning how to fight back (either literally or through reporting the event to whatever authority) and most of all, not letting such incidents define for the child who the child is and what the child is worth as a person.

In this manner, the onus IS on the victim and those who claim to befriend and support the victim.

In the meantime, bullies need to be made examples of so that others who feel they have the power to bully others will be made to feel what a bad idea it would be to abuse that power.

Mark said...

"This was one of the more astonishing posts I've read from your bunch..."

Leave my "bunch" out of it. These are my thoughts, and mine alone, and I don't apologize for them.

I didn't express them as articulate as I would have liked, but you almost got the point, regardless. All I'm saying is there were a lot less fat kids, dirty kids, and homosexual kids back when kids were forced to handle bullies on their own, without all the simpering, bleeding heart Liberals trying to institute programs to protect them.

Back in the day, you continued to get bullied, or you did something to stop it.

If you think you were bullied when you were a kid, you apparently found a way, on your own, to overcome it. Whether you fought them physically, or won them over with kindness, you did it yourself. I'm guessing you didn't have some school administrator or teacher or something hold anti-bullying symposiums and time consuming meetings to address your problem, which don't work anyway.

You didn't depend on well meaning simps to fight your battles for you, and we all grew up better and stronger than these wussies that are infecting our population today.

Jim said...

Don't get so touchy. I HOPE your thoughts are yours alone. The "bunch" I was referring to is the "community" with includes Casting, Marshall's, and Descent.

Always On Watch said...

Mark,
This post of was particular interest to me for several reasons, two of which are the following:

(1) Born in 1952, I was overweight from age of 10 to the age of 33, at which point I got FED UP and went on the Diet Center Diet. I kept the pounds off until I had a life-changing car accident. Yes, I had a sedentary lifestyle as a child -- not because of video games or television but because the school I attended was rigorous academically, with 3-4 hours of homework every night and, time to be active only available on the weekends and during the summer. At those times, I was very physically active; as a consequence, I have always had a lot of muscle. More than the extra pounds, children today lack muscle tone!

(2) I'm on a diet right now. A SERIOUS diet: the Ideal Protein Diet [video]. Expensive, but it works -- and for scientific reasons! As the video explains, the culprits that have led to extra pounds in America today is largely the result of insulin overproduction and insulin resistance: too many sugars, too many carbs, too many grains, and not enough of the right kind of protein.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I was bullied for having a really bad case of acne, and was bullied for being a skinny runt. But worst of all, for the few years I lived in a federal housing projects in my mid-teens, where my brother and I were the only non-Mexicans, we got bullied for THAT. ANd it was always several on one, so it really didn't matter how well you could fight and get licks in (and I often got them in). But if you don't go feeling sorry for yourself and live as a victim the rest of your life, you get over it and get tougher because of it.

Now, I think you are dead wrong that people should ever be bullied.

And from my experience and observation with hundreds of kids and their families, the problem with obesity is that families feed their kids too much and too much fat-food, candies, desserts, etc, all the while allowing them to sit in front of some electronic device. The kids who are out playing and engaged in sports are not obese. The kids who don't spend their lives with an electronic device are not obese. The kids who aren't stuffing their faces with ice cream, potato chips, candy, cookies, etc are not obese, the kids who don't spend half their time at fast foods are not obese.

It is the parents' fault and they should be charged with child abuse!

Parklife said...

"This was one of the more astonishing posts I've read from your bunch, and that's saying a lot."

I'll second that. But, it explains a lot.

Marshall Art said...

"I'll second that. But, it explains a lot."

Like what, exactly, Parkie, and how?

Watch, friends, as Parkie will NOT risk expressing his philosophy on this, as he wimps out on expressing himself in detail on anything. He is a troll only.

Parklife said...

Yes Marsha.. its shocking that jokers like you would put your head in the sand, claim that everything in the past is wonderful. While somebody living in the 21st century would think that being a bully is wrong.

Mark said...

Apparently, everyone missed the point. I am saying, if these kids had not been bullied, they would have had no motivation to change themselves for the better. Bullying is not a good thing, and I do not endorse it. But, it served a purpose for some kids. perhaps more than we know.

Glenn, I reject the premise that kids eating habits are the entire fault of their parents. The kids themselves share some, if not much of the responsibility to eat better, and even that can sometimes be changed by bullying.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Mark,
Small children, through elementary school, and often beyond that depending on the family, are not capable of making proper decisions about what and how much to eat without parental guidance. Therefore, when I see an obese 10-year-old, that is the parents' fault. Why do they allow the child to eat to that degree?

As for bullying, ALL bullying is wrong. I am personally familiar with cases wherein the bullying about being fat led the person to eat even more.

Bullies are always cowards.

Marshall Art said...

Well, Parkie just continues to amaze with his inability to speak truthfully or even just pay attention. I haven't seen anyone here suggest or even hint that they approved of bullying. What an idiotic and perfectly Parkie-like thing to say. You're really like 8 yrs old, or thereabouts, aren't you Ben?

Marshall Art said...

A friend of mine from the past was teased for his weight when he was no more than middle school age. In his case, he decided to change and would run around his backyard until he dropped, so that he would eventually drop weight. It worked. By the time I had come to know him, I would have never guessed that he had ever had a weight problem. Sadly, he later developed serious emotional issues and no longer took care to maintain his physical health and I finally saw what he looked like overweight. Too bad.

Parklife said...

lol.. Marsha.. You are a sad soul. Please climb out of your basement and get some air.

To recap...

"Bullying is not a good thing, and I do not endorse it. But, it served a purpose for some kids. perhaps more than we know."

Yes... we ALL got that point. Mark is against bullies but notes that it has some good effects. lol..

How is it possible that I agree with Glenn on the food issue? Heh.. There may be hope for us yet. I agree with his "Parental Guidance" statement 100%.

Speaking of overweight idiots.. Rush Limbaugh doesnt think exercise is good for him ("News From the Fat Front" - May 31, 2012).

And.. one more time.. just for you Marsha. I have used my name in the past. I dont see this as being a big deal. Yet, you continue to hide behind your name. Unless you really go by Marshall?.. Or perhaps you go by Coward? Anyway, good luck paying attention in the future.

Marshall Art said...

Well, lookie here, Ben. Anyone wanting to know my real name can easily find it. So there's no hiding whatsoever. If you want to see how cowardly I can be, post a comment anytime you're in the NW suburbs of Chicago. We'll get together and I'll demonstrate my cowardice for you.

In the meantime, I still wait for the day when YOU show some courage and post a comment with substance, something that really demonstrates that you can formulate and articulate a coherent opinion that shows depth and imagination. To date, you've not demonstrated this type of courage and instead continue to run from the challenge, instead posting the most pathetic and childish substitutes that provide no evidence of intelligence or cleverness. It's so sad that stupidity prevents you're being funny as well. It's lose-lose on those counts for all.

Anyhow, many bloggers use pen names and while some do so with the intention of remaining anonymous, not all do. So once again, you expose your stupidity as if you really want people to know just how stupid your truly are. Well done.

As to idiots, you are not mentally equipped to regard anyone else as an idiot, and definitely not someone like Limbaugh, who, on the subject of politics, is anything but. YOU, on the other hand, are always an idiot and nothing if not ready and willing to prove it.

Now, to back up my charges that you are an idiot and/or stupid, we can look at your notion that bullying has absolutely no positive benefits. For many victims of such abuse, steps have been taken to train in either weight training, self-defense or both, thereby resulting in greater self-confidence as well as gaining the ability to deal with bullies in the future for both the victim's benefit and the benefit of others who may be bullied in his presence. This is an obvious benefit that has existed as long as has bullying and it is a lesson one need not be a victim to learn. The mere presence of bullies leads some to take these steps in a preventative action.

Regardless if this is what Mark had in mind, your inability to perceive this obvious "good effect" adds more proof to the charge that you're an idiot and not very bright.