Teacher Writes Moving Letter to Student Who Was Shamed for Her Weight

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A young girl with dark hair stands on a lawn, looking ashamed.
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Ask any woman when the first time she remembers feeling shame about her body was, and the age she'll respond with will likely shock you. Actually, scratch that; if you're a woman yourself, nothing about this will shock you. Because the sad truth is, the shame begins early -- and most of the time, it sticks around ... pretty much forever. Which is why a story recently shared on the Momstrosity Facebook page is hitting home with so many -- and reminding us all just how important it is to instill body positivity in our kids early.

  • "Yesterday, some girls made fun of my daughter's weight," begins the post, which was penned by Momstrosity blogger Stephanie Hollifield.

    "She is several inches taller and about 6 months older than most of her friends," it continues. "They had a discussion about how much they weigh, and her number was the biggest."

    Reading this brought back a flood of my own childhood memories, including a time in 2nd-grade when girls in my class started comparing weights, too. Faced with numbers that were all smaller than mine, I instinctively did what I thought I had to to save face: I lied.

    It was the beginning of a lifetime of shame, in which I associated the number on the scale with my own self-worth. The higher the number, the less I somehow was. Less beautiful; less worthy; less good.

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  • It's a struggle Hollifield knows well, too. She admits that watching her daughter go through it now is pretty painful.

    "This is the first time, but surely not the last time she will worry or fret about her body," she writes. "This is the first time, but surely not the last time she will equate her worth with a number on a scale. I hate this roller coaster she is sure to be stuck on throughout her childhood, teen years, and probably into adulthood."

    Oh, how true those words really are.

  • But luckily, Hollifield's daughter is surrounded by body-positive women -- including her teacher, who heard the story and felt compelled to act.

    Just one day after sharing her hurt feelings with her teacher, Hollifield says, her daughter's teacher ("Miss T.") handed her a note that changed everything. 

    "You have been on my mind since yesterday," the letter begins. "What happened in class has tugged on my heart and I just HAD to write you."

    It continues to tell the little girl that "throughout life, people are going to say things that will hurt your feelings. This is a hard truth."

    Sadly, that's not something that ends, the teacher shares, but it's certainly something we can all rise above.

  • "Thoughtless words and actions from others say NOTHING true about you," it continues, "but rather reveal a great deal about the other person."

    "Just turn the other cheek," the letter urges, "and CONTINUE to be the shining example of kindness in action as you have been all year." 

    How sweet is that?! And yet, it doesn't just end there. Next, the teacher doled out this truth bomb, which should probably be requiring reading for girls everywhere.

  • “Being a girl is tough, and throughout life you will face doubts about yourself, just like all girls do," it continues.

    "When you begin to doubt how LOVELY you are, remember that numbers on a scale NEVER determine a person’s worth. We are all different sizes, colors, and shapes, and honestly … that’s what makes us so beautiful and unique. No one is exactly like you -- and that’s a goooood thing!"

    Oh, how this makes my heart happy. Because while it was originally written for an elementary school girl, let's be honest: It pretty much applies to women of all ages.

    We spend our lives trying to change the image in the mirror, the size on our clothing tags, and the tiniest details about the way we look. We find fault with our bodies around every corner. And somehow, learning to love it -- just as it is -- is a lifelong journey we start and stop again with each and every day.

    But Miss T. is surely on to something. And even if we've heard it before, her message deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. Because we are all beautiful, both inside and out; and we need to stop doubting how lovely we are.