There are a lot of people that go to my church that are a little younger than me, and I feel like I have gotten close to a lot of them which makes me happy. There aren't many people there my age, so I tend to stick with the youth still because I feel like I know them well. It is important to me that I am a good example to them, even though no one has ever told me that I need to be. It might be all in my head, but it's something I have thought about a lot.
Anyway, getting to my point. I was around some of them this week and I said something that I hope they won't remember. Right in front of at least two younger girls, I looked at a picture that had been taken of me and said "Oh, I look so fat!". It has suddenly occurred to me that this was not a good move on my part.
While I still stand by the fact that I did not look good in that picture, and it was pretty lighthearted because they were trying to catch me off guard for the picture anyway, I wish I hadn't said that in front of them, because I never want them to say that about themselves. They are about to be at an age (if they aren't there already) that is full of insecurity and exposure to the messages that society sends about appearance. If they haven't already, they will soon start to come across articles, commercials, and peer pressure about getting skinnier and looking pretty and keeping up with trends. Instead of being encouraged to find confidence in doing what they love, they will probably be tricked into trying to find confidence by looking good. They will have to survive in a world that loves to promote looking good and doesn't care much about being nice.
As someone who has had a lot of insecurity and still has some doubts sometimes, I should know not to talk that way around them. They are beautiful and I don't want to be the one that makes them think it's okay to doubt that. I want them to find confidence in being interested in learning things and exploring and pursuing their unique interests, instead of constantly having to worry about what they look like.
I can not stop all of these girls (and the boys too) from the challenges of growing up and I know that. I am a very small part of their lives and they are not my responsibility. This little comment I made probably isn't something they will even remember, but I sometimes have a habit of saying bad things about myself out loud and I never thought about how they might notice that. From now on, whenever I am around people younger than me, I will try to remember that they are hearing what I saying, so I should probably keep the negative thoughts to myself.