Thursday, December 9, 2010

Accepting a Compliment

I've been at my current school for four years.  The first year I was there I gave birth to Dexy in November. As someone who is not exactly petite, the added weight of pregnancy made me easily one of the largest women on campus, if not Earth.

Unfortunately, the weight just kept coming, leading my (hopefully) well-meaning students to make comments like, "Are you having another baby?" or "Did you have that baby? 'Cause your stomach is still all big."  This led to Deb conducting several Teachable Moments in which she taught students that it Isn't Polite To Comment on Someone's Weight.  (Lecture available to the interested.)  By the end of last year, the comments had largely (ha!) gone away.

I taught my lesson well.  Not one student has commented on my 80-pound weight loss.  I thought, perhaps, they just didn't notice.  Perhaps, I reasoned, I don't look all that different, so the kids don't know I'm losing weight.

Excuse me while I bitterly wipe a tear of laughter from my bleary eyes.  Kids notice everything.  How do I know?  One of my fifth-graders had the following exchange with his mother, who works at the school.  (She shared it with me later, I wasn't hiding in a cabinet spying or anything.)

Kid: Mom, have you noticed Ms. Folksy is losing a lot of weight?
Mom: Yes, sweetie, I've noticed.
Kid: She looks really good.
Mom: You could tell her that, I bet it would make her feel good.
Kid: No, she says it's rude to talk about what people weigh.

I suppose I've done a good job.  I think I'm changing my name to Folksy Know It All.

Edit: I wrote the above post on Wednesday night.  On Thursday I had a concert, so I dressed a little nicer than usual.  I was in the fifth grade hall when a (different) fifth grade boy called out.

"Ms. Folksy!" he called.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked.
"You're looking good," he said, head nodding and eyebrows raised.
"Thank you," I said, wondering why it had bothered me before when fifth-grade boys didn't compliment my appearance.  And since when do 5th graders wear velvet smoking jackets to school?

Have a great weekend!


Kristina P. said...

Wow, I can't believe you haven't talked to them about how rude it is to give a compliment on someone's personal appearance, and how it's never appropriate, even to compliment your coworkers. ;)

Boy Mom said...

I always send my 5th grade boys to school in smoking jackets and encourage them to toss out compliments and flattery freely. It saves so much effort on homework.

I'm always amazed how good it feels for my sons and their friends to compliment me.