Deeper Perception Made Practical

How to help children keep clear perception, Guest Post by GRACE S.

Okay, that title is mine. The Guest Post to follow does come from GRACE S.

Context is a recent thread begun by another Blog-Buddy, SY, who sent a fascinating link. Click at will to see how the sort of image we take for granted has been retouched.

You know if you’ve seen resources like this one, just how profoundly shocking it is to see how commonly images are tweaked. The vanity surgeries and makeup and lighting aren’t enough, evidently. Nor is it enough to select uncommonly “perfect” looking candidates for being celebrities and models.

Retouch? Really so wonderful?

My opinion, Blog-Buddies, is that retouching is one more way to be out of touch.

  • Out of touch with reality, where human beings look the way they do without having to plasticize themselves.
  • Out of touch with inner life, which suffers with every stroke of the vanity surgeon’s knife, every tweak of an image accepted as normal.
  • Out of touch with a person’s true gifts of the soul. Although photoshopping an image won’t affect that person’s soul, cosmetic surgery can. Not necessarily in a bad way. But often the shift takes the unfortunate client towards greater mediocrity.

Face reading, done for 10,000 years, reveals the recpirocal relationship between the soul (the inner person, in vivid and very human detail) and the sacred spiritual symbol of human life, the physical face.

We disrespect that value of the natural face… and we can slow down our spiritual evolution, limit our authenticity. A perfect valid choice to make with free will, and one that can win popularity points in today’s society! But is it worth the inner price?

A thread developed about responding to today’s vanity culture, especially if raising children. The words below come from GRACE S., the headlines and a bit of copy editing mine. You go, GRACE!

Wisdom from Grace S. about raising a kid who takes normal for granted

Since [my son JOE] was little we talked about how beautiful our bodies are to imprint him with that basic idea. (And my husband has struggled with weight gain, and we still would talk about what a beautiful man he was while coming out of the shower or changing).

We would also try to find something to appreciate in strangers who look different, like a gorgeous smile or playful disposition.

Personally, I grew up in America but secluded with immigrants who found my body to be repulsive (being rail thin) they valued a hearty, healthy farm stock. Anyway, I certainly don’t take for granted that all of this “beauty” is culturally dictated and fad motivated.

Distinguishing how people look from the content of their character

This week in his a book someone is being called “Fatty Doodi,” and I’ve been working on how it’s ok to talk about what someone did, e.g., “He acted like a jerk.” “He made me mad.”

But it not ok to make fun of how someone looks because you’re mad at what he did.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Work on expressing what you’re really feeling and experiencing. Get it out. Feel heard. Then work on asking for what you DO want and need from that person.

Bullying via Facebook and elsewhere

We’ve also had to walk our talk with this with another example from recent local politics. Somehow our son got pinned with starting all this smack-talk about a politician. And all the other parents are deeply humored by this, especially on Facebook.

I can completely understand. But on the side I have brought up with them that it’s not my kid. In our family, we do not call people names. Not even when we don’t agree with what they are doing!

Dignity and life skills  are what I really believe in.

It bugs me that there’s this double standard out there about what is bullying behavior.

Mockery is cruel and not ok under any circumstance.

We need to have deeper conversations, empowering conversations (politics for example, so you don’t feel like a victim) about these basic, everyday issues, addressing difference.

Further parenting ideas

I’m with JILL, we don’t do TV & pop magazines at home. So Joe is not getting those imprinted into his subconscious so much.

It’s not as much about sheltering him, it’s more about age-appropriate viewing. What he can understand at what age — JOE is now turning five.

For example, we do talk about how advertising works (which, LOL, is my husband’s field). We discuss that you ARE getting tricked and manipulated and preyed upon.

Here’s a funny example from last year. It was a rare stop at a fast food joint and JOE wanted one of those cheap toys.

He was so smitten by the image/ad that I knew enough to clearly let him know that the toy would be vastly different.

JOE still wanted it. Fair enough. No sooner than he opened it did he want to stomp on it out of resentment for it not living up to his expectations.

I couldn’t blame him.

We talked about how let down he was, and how he got tricked. We discussed how it’s very normal (and easy) to try to trick  someone into buying something. (Stealing your money is the name of the game).

Here Be Monsters

A great book we have read twice now is “Here Be Monsters.” It’s long and chock full of detailed illustrations, a compelling read with characters one can easily identify with, action with no violence, btw.

But here’s to the point. One of the main subplots is about advertising, creating insecurities in order to sell.

For us, this has been a good parenting tool to talk about these themes of manipulation in a non-threatening way.

Thanks for asking! [Blog-Buddies, the reference her follows how I had asked GRACE S. to write a comment on the topic of parenting related to this thread. So glad she did. :-)]

Sock tantrums

My son is not going to escape societal pressures, for goodness sake. But my goal is that he’s not blind-sided, thus inordinately swayed by them.

Plus that JOE feels valued for something other than his beauty, e.g., Being a good climber, bike rider, friend, conversationalist and more.

The pressures are there for boys too, but dear Lord, I’m never going to have to deal with “These socks don’t make me look pretty” tantrums or “You shouldn’t wear layers, they make you look fat.”

Both of these statements being quotes from three-year old girls that JOE learned from daycare.

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  1. 1
    Grace S. says:

    LOL, this inadvertent guest post sure is on the “practical” side of Deeper Perception Made Practical! I was wondering where my comment went to!

    Jokes aside, I know this is a near and dear topic to you ROSE and very, very relevant to people at large. Something I obviously think about a lot, too – plus countering Consumerism, two sides of the same coin.

    For the record, my kid didn’t actually come home with those last two kid comments. We go to a “crunchy” outdoors daycare that also discourages media use at a young age, so the parents are generally on the same page.

    But anyway, those are real quotes from the struggles that my peers have gone through with raising young girls. This cultural programming is soooo hard core, deep and intense, each time I felt like, “Therefore by the grace of God….”

  2. 2

    Thanks, GRACE S. And correction in last two paras is appreciated. Sweet.

    Crunchy, huh?

    I was going to email you after this session, as I generally do when upgrading a comment to Guest Post.

    You were too quick for me, GRACE.

    Not only is this topic near and dear to me, but YOU, VERY DEFINITELY. ! 🙂

  3. 3
    Primmie says:

    Thanks so much for this comment Grace, and thanks to Rose for turning it into a post. I’ve only just become a mother and I’ve been thinking a little about this subject.

    My daughter is often described as a “Beautiful girl”. Occasionally someone will say my son is a “Handsome boy” but usually they say “Strong boy” “Happy boy” “Smiley boy”. Virtually all the comments that come my daughter’s way are about how she looks. Perhaps having boy/girl twins means I get to hear quite clearly how boys and girls are generally spoken about.

    In terms of passing on self-esteem, I think as a mother I can only give what I’ve got, so if I don’t love myself I can’t model that for my children.

    Do I really love myself? do I really love my body rather than just saying I do? I’m glad to find that pregnancy has given me a sense of physical accomplishment that I previously didn’t have. Carrying twins was really hard work. I look different from how I used to. I’m surprised to find that I still like my body. I have a new found respect for womens’ bodies in general now.

    I wonder about the word “beautiful” and what it means. I look at the picture of Toni Morrison and I am captivated by her. She is so purely perfectly herself in that picture. She looks incredibly present and soulful. I could fall in love with anyone who took a picture like that! Conventionally she isn’t “beautiful” at all.

    I think modeling self acceptance the way Toni Morrison does could teach a child far more about self love than any theorising might.

  4. 4

    No perhaps about it, PRIMMIE.

    In “Paris to the Moon,” Adam Gopnik recounts his wife’s pregnancy in France. If I remember correctly, even in the woob, the developing daughter was described as “beautiful.”

  5. 5
    Jill says:

    Wow, Grace S and Primmie,

    Having never been a mother it is wonderful reading about your experiences and how you are consciously addressing this “beauty” issue with your children. It is such an important issue and I wish more parents were as cognizant and proactive as you are.

    A funny aside; I was talking to my husband about the pressure that is put on women to be sexy and beautiful and he said he would be totally OK and even flattered if a woman told him she wanted him only for his body. He was so totally honest about this and we laughed, but then I realized that that is probably true for a lot of men. Men don’t seem to be as concerned about it as women are. I don’t know, however, if that would be true if the same pressures were on them to the same degree as they are on women. It just gave me a different perspective.

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