labels

There’s different ways of noticing behaviors, acknowledging them, labeling them.

Sometimes as parents, the names we may apply to our children’s behavior or trait or physical looks can make a significant impression in the way they grow to think about themselves.

We’ve all heard parents and relatives refer to the “slowpoke in the family”, “our whiny one”, “our sly one”.  Or perhaps it’s referring to the way they look – “she has the stringiest hair, hard to do anything with it” , “he’s a beanpole just like his grandpa was”, “she’s always been so clumsy”.

When I was little I had a mark on my upper thigh that could be seen when I wore a bathing suit – which as a child growing up on the sea shore was everyday all summer long.

My mother called it my beauty mark.

Wow – a beauty mark!  That made me feel pretty special.  I loved it.  In fact, when I got my new hip a few years ago, one of the first things I did was check to see if my beauty mark was still there.  Sure enough, it was.

I was glad to see it.

At my last well-physical check-up, however, my doctor told me “keep an eye on that mole on your thigh!”  “Mole?” I said.  “You mean my beauty mark?”

We had a very good laugh about that when I explained how it’s always been called my beauty mark.

“My mother told me so.”

Those names, those adjectives and descriptions said often times in jest can remain, however, what a child believes about himself, good or bad, for a long time.

Look at me.

My mom told me, a very long time ago, that I had a beauty mark … and I’m sticking with it!

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