Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Honey, we're killing the kids!

You know the Capital One credit card commercial that has the by-line "What's in your wallet?" for some reason I had this flash thought/visual of somebody's hand in your wallet. I know, I know...that's not what they want me to think when they say that line....but, I did.

Right after that I had a visual of the Life Puzzle....and thought "What's in your Life Puzzle?"
And then I had the visual of a multitude of media messages, cultural messages just scrambling all the pieces of your Life!

All this erupted in my brain after watching a CNN clip about a new show on TLC called "Honey we're killing the kids'. The original was on the BBC--this is the new American version. The goal is to help these families with overweight and unhealthy kids learn new and healthier patterns in the course of the 13 weeks of shows.

The CNN clip showed a family of 5 where the mother and two boys are overweight (mother is also diabetic) while the father and one son are below weight. Their eating habits are fast food heaven as part of a "too much to do in a day, no time to cook" lifestyle. And as everyone knows, fast food is generally fat food. Add to this a video game, sedentary TV lifestyle and its a prescription for health disasters!

So, in theory, helping this family change it's eating habits/lifestyle is a good thing. But what greatly concerns me is having these young children exposed on national television--at a time when the 'edges of their Life Puzzle'..and thus their SELF development is in such a crucial formative stage. While these children are not stars like the kids on the Partridge Family or Little House on the Prairie or Full House, etc.--what we do know from 50 years of television is that many of the children who star in these shows have significantly impaired adulthoods. The ability for children, who are in the formative stages of SELF, to negotiate through the world of television stardom has lots of stories of kids who did not transition well into their adulthood.

In a media engrossed world, our Life Puzzles are continually bombarded by outside messages. Adults have a certain measure of ability to keep these messages from shaping their SELF. But children do not--they are in the formative stages and are just now figuring out who they are. As
I watched these children on Honey, we're killing the kids, and all I could think was that they are so young they have no idea how their vision of SELF is being shaped.

I can guarantee you that most of the adults creating this show--from the nutritionists, health professionals and even the cameraman have very little awareness of the 'edge development' of children! So while they have good intentions on a physical level with the goal of helping these children, are they harming these children on a much deeper level? So, it's not only "Honey, we're killing the kids" on a physical level--we're going to add another dimension--"Honey, we're screwing up their minds" on a mental-emotional level?! What show should we create next to fix this?

Children are dependent on adults providing them environments where they can develop healthy physical, emotional, thinking, sexual and spiritual edges which leads to a strong SELF able to walk into adulthood. Is this show a healthy environment for these children to develop their edges? My concern for these overweight children is that their edge formation is being heavily influenced while being exposed on national television. They will "see" themselves on these shows and those images will have a powerful impact on their view of SELF. Will their parents or other adults help them nurture strong edges as a result or will the "shaping" of their SELF through this experience be something they have to figure out by themselves? In a world where many adults do not understand child development and the stages of emotional/cognitive growth, I fear that many of these children will have to negotiate this by themselves and it will be difficult.

Hating our bodies--national epidemic

A friend sent me an email yesterday about a survey done in Great Britain. He saw it in the Times of London. It focused on women and their bodies--well, actually the hatred of their bodies. It was a bleak assessment--essentially more than half of all women hated their bodies! He asked me, "Do you think this is true on this side of the pond as well?"

My answer would be yes women in the United States hate their bodies. And here's why I think that is; because long before they have even a semblance of a whole SELF, media messages have so informed them of the picture of what their body should look like--a look that less than 1-2% of the population could ever achieve that it sets them up on a lifelong quest they can never satisfy. This media message plants a seed in girls as young as 5 and 6--at a time when they have no idea what's happening.

The media is a powerful influence. Starting around age 6, who/what will young girls be learning is the IT look? Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan etc. Remember the Edges of one's Life Puzzle? The physical edge is being formed--and this media message is coming through a child's edge and embedding itself in her SELF. Be thin, be thin, be thin...to be good. A child this young has not yet had time to develop emotional/thinking edges and thus her SELF has not developed enough for her to realize that these pictures represent a big lie. These pictures have been altered and all blemishes and normal issues--like cellulite etc. are removed through a computer!

Thus, the SELF is being shaped by outside influences that a child this young has no way of rejecting. The seeds of hating one's body have been planted but they won't grow until puberty hits and their body begins major changes.

By the time puberty hits most girls will begin the unattainable quest. Little by little, over and over again they'll attempt to achieve a body based on the media/cultural messages. Never realizing that the reason they never succeed isn't because they're bad, ugly, have no will power, etc. but because it simply isn't attainable at all. The dieting cycle--a multi-billion dollar business--gets started and will continue for another 30-40 years! The Times of London article clearly shows adult women acting out this scenario.

Getting 'thin enough' will not (does not!) help us love our bodies! Study after study shows that most people lose their weight--but then put it all back on. If being 'thin enough' was all we needed to stop hating our bodies--then millions of women would be loving their bodies--because 90% of dieters succeed at weight loss. But loving your body isn't a result of losing weight. Loving your body is a result of having healthy edges--physical, emotional, thinking, sexual and spiritual which results in a SELF that is consciously creating her life.

Going on another diet won't do the trick. Building your Life Puzzle...starting with the Edges of SELF will pull you out of hating your body and loving your Life! Then worrying or thinking about your body becomes a minor piece in the whole you are creating! A piece at a time with the whole YOU in mind!