by Marlene Evans
Founder of Christian Womanhood
Parents and those who work with teens, I beg you to take your larger child seriously.
Please don’t brush them off with statements such as, “Oh, you’ll lose your baby fat.” I still have “baby fat” at 62 years of age!
I plead with you not to talk and try to discuss with or make innuendos about big people to your larger young people. I promise you they will only eat more of the wrong food. There are exceptions, but they are few and far between.
When I was in the seventh grade, I was as tall and as large boned as I am now. Really, I was not fat then, but being taller and larger boned than other kids was enough to make me feel humongous. It was also enough to give cause to all my friends(?) for teasing me. It’s always nice to have some place of refuge. Someone once said, “Anything about which you get teased outside the refuge should be taboo inside the refuge.” I had several refuges. I was okay at home—home safe! I was okay with Mom and Dad’s close friends, “Aunt” Lela and “Uncle” Carl, who were both large people. In fact, I was so okay that I felt I could share my hurt with them, and Aunt Lela responded with, “Marlene, when you’re with Aunt Lela and Uncle Carl you are with big people.” As you can tell, I never forgot that empathy.
What Can You Do?
“So,” you say, “what am I to do? My heart aches as I see my daughter or one of our teens getting bigger and bigger. It’s ruining her whole life.” Being a lady, I’m going to deal just with girls, although I know boys have many of the same problems.
Here Are Some Possibilities:
- Introduce her to books on feeling loved by God.
- Clothes are very important to help a bigger or out-of-proportion person feel better about themselves. Since man looks on the outward appearance according to I Samuel 16:7b which says, “For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart,” help your girl make extra money in order to be able to buy the clothes cut right for her. They probably will cost more, but they may make her look 10-15 pounds lighter. It’s too bad the outward appearance means this much, but being somewhat of a realist, I have to admit it does. People seem to accept larger people better if they are dressed to look their best. How great it is that God accepts us just as we are!
It will take more time and effort to find the right styles to minimize size or a figure flaw. If your girl tries to go it alone, she might end up in tears of despair at the closest burger joint with french fries, a milk shake, an apple pie, and a burger of course.
If you don’t feel you’re the one to help on such a shopping expedition, find someone who is, ask for their help, give them guidelines, and ask for veto power in order to return things after looking them over a while.
By the way, the fact that some people can put on a gunny sack and look good does not have to be mentioned!
- A flattering hairdo puffed out to draw attention toward the face and be in proportion to the larger body can be a real pain but can surely be easier than crying over the child’s hurt feelings as she’s talked against again and again. Why spend time saying, “Kids are cruel,” when we already know that the fact of cruelty has always been true and always will be on this earth. We’re cruel, too!
- Jewelry causes a lot of people to feel a little bit more normal no matter what the feelings of abnormality. After my last surgery, my rings were brought to me within 24 hours. About 12 hours later, my ruby bracelet that had been in the jeweler’s being repaired was delivered to me. Miss Arlys Cooper went to Jeff at Jeffrey’s Jewelers. He got the work out fast and free as a gift to me, and Miss Cooper sent it to Mayo Clinic with people who were coming to see me. I remember how good it felt to put on that bracelet. It is an expensive bracelet—a gift. However, I enjoy costume fun stuff, too.
- Keep good snacks in the house or in a youth center or on an outing. We yell at kids to lose weight and hand them a bag of chips, soda and a box of cookies. Be sure cut-up fruit and veggies, low-fat dips, strips of roast turkey or chicken, and other items are as available as junk food. Say nothing. Do a lot.
- Provide good fun and fellowship. If the girl about whom you’re concerned is really overweight, you may have to provide most of the fun and fellowship she has. You can enlist help if you know the helpers are close-mouthed. If your girl ever knows she’s a “missionary project,” you are a goner as far as helping her.
If you ever make your “big” girl comfortable enough to talk to you and if I have been in your church or she to ours and if she likes me, you have my permission to tell her, “When you are around Mrs. Evans, you’re around a big person.”
I’d like to think I could help another girl or two.