Yesterday one of my co-workers stopped me to call me (again) "The Incredible Shrinking Woman". This wasn't particularly unusual, she does this about once every other week. This time, though, in addition to telling me I was an inspiration to her, she said "I really wish you could be an inspirtation to my family." (I've become quite skilled at letting the inspiration word fly without so much as a the twitch of an eye muscle. I just nod and smile like a bobblehead.)
She then told me about her niece, who I believe is 9 years old. She told me how this little girl has a serious weight problem already (as does her mother, apparently). She said this little girl is picked up pretty relentlessly. And then she said something that damn near made me cry instantly. She said "it's as though she's lost her spirit." She told me how this little girl used to love to sing and dance. She would make up dances and routines. And she doesn't do that anymore. An adult in her life is recognizing that this precious little child has "lost her spirit".
I don't remember when I lost my spirit, I just remember what it was like to have it snuffed to the point of near extinction. And it breaks my heart to think of a nine year old girl who's flame is dying.
The co-worker then asked me for advice on how to help this little girl with her weight issue, as this little girl was going to come stay with her for a week. I suggested she just be a role model for healthy habits. But then quickly added "but the best thing you can do is help that child find her spirit. Sing and dance with her while she's there. Help her remember how much she used to enjoy that."
It just kills me to think this little girl is buying a ticket on a self esteem train that's headed for derailment.