In a world filled with picture perfect Instagram models and billboards splashed with borderline adult content, it is absolutely my duty to guide my daughters to have a belief in what their bodies can do, NOT for how they look.
Growing up, it never, ever crossed my mind to be dissatisfied with my body. I do remember being quite a bit upset, though, one winter at age 7, to find that my favourite Mickey Mouse jumper was far, far too short in the sleeves! But growing taller is just a normal part of childhood, so I wasn't upset about my body, just annoyed that now the jumper was too small.
Then, at age 9 after our class photo was handed out, I was taught to be upset about my body. School photos in the 80's and early 90's were all about the fun location on the playground. So, our grade was strategically placed around the large concrete tunnel and surrounding fort that we all loved to play on so much. The wind was up that day - it was in our faces. My school dress was windblown onto me.
My 9 year old pot belly was on show.
And according to the other kids, I looked pregnant!
Kids can be pretty cruel. And so began an about-turn on my beliefs - I started to focus on what my body looked like, rather than what it could do.
I stayed a pretty strong kid (physically) - helping Dad on the farm on the weekends and my Scouting adventures made sure of that. But there was always that little niggle, that little thought towards how I looked.
Kids are innately, brutally honest. Out of the mouths of babes.
So, it is now my job to guide my daughters and to direct them. To think less of what their body looks like, and more of what it can do.
Surely, the function of our body is far more important than the aesthetics?
Surely, mastering a new physical skill is far more important than the aesthetics?
Surely, being able to wake up in the morning and get through the day pain free (or working towards pain free) is more important than the aesthetics?
Surely, preventing or slowing the loss of bone density and muscle mass as we age is more important than aesthetics?
It is our duty to guide ourselves and our children away from the aesthetics and focus on the health and the function of our bodies (physically and mentally!)