The unit that we’re on in my classroom right now is “supermarket”. It’s actually pretty surprising how much you can talk about when it comes to grocery shopping. For instance, today we discussed labels. I even let them label me. Thankfully, they went easy on me and didn’t call me names, use any profanity, or label things like my butt. It was an all around win.
The whole point of the lesson was to teach them the importance of reading and understanding labels they might see in their everyday life. I pretended that I had no idea what things were. I grabbed my hair, started panicking, and then screamed things like “ewwwww what is this?” Because, obviously, I like to pretend I’m an actress. One of the boys said worms, so I naturally had to flail around like an idiot until they reassured me it was just hair. I made them label it so I wouldn’t forget. Seriously, where is my Academy Award?
I let them draw pictures of themselves and label their pants, shirts, hair, and whatever else they could think of, too. This little girl either has a lot of knee caps, or was really into the labeling. I love, love, love seeing what they draw and write in their journals.
I let them share their pictures and then we decided that these labels were totally silly. We know that legs are legs, that shoes are shoes, and that our noses are noses.
We realized that we didn’t need those things to be labeled. Of course, we talked about labels that are important (hello, poison). We talked about how they can be really helpful, too. Open means “come on in” and closed means “go away”. Labels help you find things at the store and keep you from putting fruits in your vegetable soup. I mean, deep stuff here ya’ll. 😉
I couldn’t help but think, though, about all those unimportant labels. I hold on to way too many of those in my personal life. I’ve mentioned I’m trying to ditch the labels and just be me, but sometimes it can be harder than that. I still desperately want to be a “runner”, a “good mom”, “fit”, “not totally weird”, and yada yada. Okay, so I’m joking a little. But you get my drift. The problem with labels is, well… who decides what they actually mean? What does it mean to be a runner? What does it mean to be a good mom? What does it mean to be fit?
I think a huge problem with labels is that we feel the need to conform to other people’s definition of them.
I mean, seriously. Sometimes I get embarrassed when my mom tells people I’m “a runner”. I feel the need to say things like “Well, I mean, not really. I run sometimes, but I’m not fast or anything. No, I’m not really a runner, for real.” And then it gets 100 shades of awkward, because my mom was just trying to be a super cool proud awesome mom. She deserves a lot of adjectives, by the way. I can’t speak as kindly about myself as a mom, though. When I’m with other moms, I cut myself down a lot. Why? It’s so bizarre. It’s like I’m scared someone will call me out on all my mommy downfalls if I pretend like I know anything about raising a child. Same daggum thing with describing myself as fit. I cannot do it. If someone compliments me on something physical, I cringe and then say incredibly weird things. No joke. A coworker said I looked great after having a child. I literally replied “You haven’t seen the frightening scene all up in here.” Picture me rubbing my stomach awkwardly and then scurrying away into the hallway. Yeah, it’s a wonder anyone talks to me at work.
So, I guess I’m changing my tune. Maybe the labels aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s all in our own minds, ya know? It’s about damn time we got around to owning our own awesomeness. You guys rock. It I had a post it note and we were actually face-t0-face, I’d totally cover you in adjectives. I’d shower you with them. Amazing. Bad ass. You name it. You deserve it.
PS: Tonight was chest and tri day.
PPS: Can chest day give you boobs?
PPPS: Don’t answer that.