This is my son Philip. He’s 9 and perfect and funny and SHORT.
“Mum, I’m the shortest in my class, the shortest in my soccer team and the shortest out of all my friends,” he regularly tells me. When he says this it brings back painful memories of school (doesn’t everything!). I was called ‘shrimp’ more than I was called Jo during both primary and high school. Even now as a fully grown adult I’m only 5’3”. But so what? I’m not a model or a basketball player and to be honest, if I’m reaching for something high up I’m a chair away from being able to get it. So what if I’m short. So what?
Except kids hate being different from their friends. They just want to be the same. Same, same, same. It makes them feel comfortable and it makes them feel secure. What they don’t realise is that it’s their experiences of being different that make them into strong, determined, amazing, unique people. Being different isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s just that Philip feels different enough already. He has food allergies and has to wear a yellow hat at school. All his friends are allergy-free and wear blue hats. He also has silver caps on his top, side teeth. His friends ask what they are. He feels embarrassed when they do.
I gave him the “it’s okay to be different” speech again tonight and he listened but I’m not sure I helped. I even used a sports analogy.
We were watching Origin I (GO BLUES!) and I said that it doesn’t matter if he’s short, especially in soccer. I reminded him that Peter Sterling is still one of the best players to have ever played for the Eels and he’s as tall as me! Philip is fast, he’s fit and he’s an excellent player. Being short hasn’t stopped him from doing anything he wants to do (except reach the chocolate in the high cupboard after I’ve put it there so he can’t have anymore of it).
I then told him that if he eats more fruit, veg and all his dinner he’ll grow big and strong.
I then tucked him into bed and told him he was perfect just the way he was and not to bother getting upset about things he couldn’t change. Whats the point? I tell this to myself quite often too!
La Dolce Vita,