Tag Archives: education

Who really is the Biggest Loser?

I’m sorry I just don’t like the tv series The Biggest Loser. I know it’s extremely popular but I just don’t get it.  I’ve seen the odd show here and there but the trailer for the new series was enough to remind me it’s not on my list of show’s to record. The clip goes something like this: over-weight man struggling to stay on a treadmill in the gym, keeps falling off, in the background Jillian Michaels is yelling insults at the guy and eventually says “Get your sorry ass out of my gym!” 

Oh nice! Am I the only one who thinks this is a form of personal abuse? Would Ms Micheals enjoy being yelled at in this way while she trying to prove a complicated math’s hypothesis or something else that she found challenging? Would we find it acceptable if, as she struggled to note down numbers and fractions on the white board, a math’s professor was ridiculing her and telling her she wasn’t trying hard enough? And then dismissed her from the classroom with a look of disgust?

The reason it bothers me is because I can’t help feeling that the only way you would put up with being yelled at in this humiliating manner is because your self-esteem is so low you think you don’t deserve to be treated any differently.  Yes go ahead and  yell at me because I’m fat and so I deserve it! It’s like beating someone who is already down. Isn’t that bullying?
I know we have a rise in obesity to deal with, I know our society needs to keep fit and eat healthy but why on earth do we think we can ridicule others and verbally abuse them into being thin?  

The contestants on the show must know what they’re getting into so I’m assuming they find it motivating or at least they are willing to endure it in order to get the results they want. And all power to them for taking the challenge. 

But let’s not forget that this is all being televised and there are impressionable young minds at home watching it. 

I’ll admit, it’s personal for me: I’ve been over-weight all my life. Growing up I was regularly teased about it; I always worried about some kid calling me a name on the bus or in gym class. I never knew when it would happen, I wouldn’t do anything to initiate it, I could just be walking down the street minding my own business and some idiot would yell: “Hello fatty!” Because everyone knows it’s funny to laugh at the fat kid right?

Now I’m not saying this so you can all get the violin’s out.  I’m over it, thank goodness and you know we all have our crosses to bear. I don’t want pity…I’m fit and healthy and I rather like myself thanks very much! 🙂

But come on, enlighten me, I know it’s obviously popular TV, but why is it ok for Jillian Micheals to hurl abuse at her contestants? Why are we ok watching that while vehemently advocating against bullying in schools? Isn’t that a mixed message?  Why, as a society, do we give air-time to a show which, at times (so it seems to me) encourages motivation through abuse and aggression?

 

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Filed under education, health, Inspiration, life journey, life lessons, mental health, motherhood, parenting, self discovery, TV shows, Uncategorized, weight loss

The after-school rollercoaster!

Oh the joys of extra-curricular activities! Anyone else with kids feel like they’re rushing around like a headless chicken after school making sure their beloved off-spring get to their Yoga-For-Tots or Young Chefs class on time? It’s craziness! I’m trying to keep our after-school commitments under a tight rein but if you’re not careful, before you know it, your kid’s calendar looks much like that of an A-list celeb!

At the moment my kids play tennis, my son fences and my daughter takes a drama class. It’s enough to fill up the week and make me just a tad stressed at times! If I’m honest I’d rather just let them hang out at home, doing their homework and picking their nose but unfortunately parents are under a lot of pressure to enrich their children’s lives with sport and crafts these days.

There is a pletherer of after-school activities available, so whatever your child is interested in, chances are you can find a class for it. When you turn up at these places, the classes are usually well attended but I find myself wondering how many of the students would rather be kicking a ball around on their back yard, or pootling about on their bikes. And I have to wonder do they really need to be doing Chess Club and Fine Arts?

The other day, I took my son to his regular fencing class. Usually I enjoy a trip to Costco during his lesson, but last night, in an effort to resist the lure of a jumbo pack of kitchen towels, I decided to hang around and read a book. There were a few other parents there, some on their phones, some tapping way on Ipads and the others were watching. No hang on, they weren’t just watching, what they were actually doing was coaching their kids, yelling out instructions from the back of the room. Every time there was a water break these parents would go over and say things like: “You’re lifting your front foot to high” or “you’re not moving quickly enough.” As if it weren’t enough for their children to be taking guidance from the fencing coach, you know the person actually qualified to instruct in the method of fencing, they also had to endure negative criticism from their parents.

Then I felt uncomfortable wearing my Judging Hat because I’m sure I’ve done the exact same thing. I know I am sometimes the parent muttering at the back of the room. And I couldn’t help wondering, why don’t we just leave the kids alone to get it in their own time? Have we lost all faith in our childrens’ ability to grasp a new skill without parental badgering from the sidelines?

Growing up, my main interest was drama. I used to go down on the bus every Satruday and would spend three hours happily prancing around pretending to be a tree or working on a my solo pieces. My parents never came. Even when I practiced at home, my parents didn’t usually listen to me or give me instruction. When I ask my Mum about this and she usually says something along the lines of: “Well we just trusted you to get on with it!” Or “I had things to do!”

And I did…I just got on with it. I didn’t feel unloved or uncared for. I could always go to my parents for help but they certainly weren’t breathing down my neck. The result of this approach was that every time I did take part in a drama competition or my school exams, I was doing so as an invidual. I always knew my achievements, and my mistakes, were my own. As they should be.

I think that parents now are more insecure about their children than my parents generation (I include myself here). We push our kids at school, we push them at sport outside of school, we expect them to be accomplished public speakers. But by heaping the pressure on and holding their hands the whole time, we in fact disinfranchise our kids because we stop them from become true individuals. We sap out the enterpise and creativity from their souls because we send them the message that they can’t so it on their own and that there’s no place for failure.
It’s good to have hopes for your kids obviously, it’s natural to want them to do well but doesn’t it feel like we’re rushing them along? So much so, we’re not leaving them room for error. Shouldn’t we have more faith in their ablity to work it out themselves? To embrace their mistakes? We trying so hard to protect them from failing without realising that we are in turn depriving them of a vital life lesson. We need to ask ourselves why we are enrolling our kids into all these extra-curricular activites? Who is it for? What is it for? Shouldn’t we be teaching them that it’s ok sometimes to get up and have a go, and not win a trophy?

Now it’s the beginning of a New Year, a chance to re-evaluate. I’m in the process of assessing my own kids extra-cirruclar activities. At the moment they seem to be enjoying it and I’m coping with being a taxi to get them to various places. I drop off and pick up. I’m making an effort to be supportive without getting over-involved. For now, I feel I have it under control but to be fair that’s probably because my youngest son has yet to get sucked into the after-school mayhem.

Although I’m proud to say that he is rather good at picking his nose…and that’s without any guidance for me of course! 😉

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Filed under children, creative writing, education, life journey, life lessons, motherhood, parenting, self discovery, Uncategorized