Posts Tagged ‘Fat’

The Other “F” Word

January 21, 2020

The first line in my well-received new novel is, “I’m so fat.”

It elicits cheeky giggles whenever I used to read it out. Kids are not used to hearing that word anymore and are especially surprised that a major character in a kid’s book nonchalantly expresses such a candid self-reflection.

By the end of the first page, my audience grows to love the character and appreciate his honesty. Cheeky giggles are replaced with unabashed giggles. Finally, a character that feels comfortable to express the thoughts that many of us feel on a daily basis – seems to be the consensus.

When I first started reading the then-unfinished manuscript, a student approached me and told me how much the character of Jake meant to her. She told me that she had been ignored and disrespected because of her weight and it was inspiring to see those very same students that have ostracised her completely warmed to the fat character and instantly accepted him. She told me it gives her hope that the overweight kid can achieve some positive attention for a change.

I asked her what her name was.

“Nina”, she replied.

I told her I would name one of the major characters “Nina” because her words had moved me so much.

Nina is probably an adult now and probably has no recollection of that day and the origins of her namesake in my book. But her reaction has not been unique.

As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to read my book to thousands of students along the journey. There is a good reason why the word “fat” is frowned upon and there is a logic behind society’s reluctance to explicitly draw attention to weight.

But fat people know they are fat and are looking for a character that can own up to it and then prosecute the case why being overweight should never overshadow a person’s spirit, wisdom and achievements.

Enter Jake Archibald and the book, My Favourite Comedian.

Thank you, Nina!


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.



Father Considered Too Obese to Keep His Kids

June 23, 2012

A person should never lose his children because of their weight:

The problem with being a credible hulk is no matter how credible the story, he’s still a hulk.

Such is the hard truth for an obese Ottawa dad deemed too fat to keep his kids.

We’ll call him Dad because he can’t be named or identified.

Dad, 38, claims there’s no adequate oversight of Children’s Aid judgements in this province.

His two sons – age 5 and 6 – have been put up for adoption. He’s not been granted custody because – among other things – he’s 360 lbs and has been as much as 525 lbs.

It appears the judge used Dad’s obesity as a major reason as to why he can’t have custody of his kids. That’s created a lot of chatter and created a debate about whether obese people make good parents.

The judge may have some good reasons for not allowing this man to be with his children but his obesity should not be a factor.

It’s Time to Change the Culture of the Classroom

January 5, 2012

I have a confession to make. As driven as I am to help my students master the curriculum, there is something more important to me than their academic achievement. I would not be even remotely satisfied if my students were at or above the national standard in numeracy and literacy if they also happened to be bullying, bullied or struggling to cope with everyday life. Conversely, if my students were below national standards but were functioning well and getting along with each other, I would be far more satisfied.

That’s not to say that I don’t understand that a vital function of my job is to educate. I know that all too well. It’s just that I wont let that distract me from my mission in setting up a classroom that is caring, friendly and allows each child to express themselves in their own unique way.

I am sick and tired of reading about how bullying is causing kids as young as 7 to diet. It infuriates me that so little is done by teachers to protect young kids from this stigma and prevent bullies from causing distress. I know what I am claiming will be seen as a gross generalisation, but how many teachers are prepared to overlook a hurtful comment about weight or ignore the activity by the “in-crowd?”

No classroom should have an “in-crowd”. In-groups cannot exist without a readily defined “out-group”. It is a teacher’s job to foster a classroom environment without such divisions. It is more important than any equation or scientific experiment.

Children To Be Taken Away From Parents Because of Their Weight

September 5, 2011

There is no doubt that social workers are unheralded and deserve much credit for the work that they do.  But having said that, I can’t hide my displeasure at their willingness to break up families in the name of raising thinner kids.

It bothers me that people think they know what is best for someone elses children.  It disturbs me that people can justify taking children from their flawed but loving parents and subject them to foster homes and estrangement from their flesh and blood all in the name of helping them to lose weight.

What about what the children want?  Has it ever occurred to them that some children are prepared to deal with the consequences of being severely overweight if it means they can remain with their parents?  Since when did physically healthy foster kids have it much better than obese kids enjoying the closeness of their parents and siblings?

And don’t tell me that parents that raise obese kids are ‘cruel’.  Yes, they have made poor parental decisions and yes their poor decisions may have all kinds of serious consequences for their kids.  But parenting, like weight loss, is not an easy job.  It is unfair to taint parents as ‘cruel’ and ‘unfit to parent’ just because they are not succeeding in breaking bad habits.  No parents wants to see their child suffer.  Some just need a lot more support than others to break bad habits.

Four obese children are on the brink of being permanently removed from their family by social workers after their parents failed to bring their weight under control.

In the first case of its kind, their mother and father now face what they call the ‘unbearable’ likelihood of never seeing them again.

Their three daughters, aged 11, seven and one, and five-year-old son, will either be ‘fostered without contact’ or adopted.

Either way, the family’s only hope of being reunited will be if the children attempt to track down their parents when they become adults.

In an emotional interview, the 42-year-old mother said: ‘We might not be the perfect parents, but we love our children with all our hearts. To face a future where we will never see them again is unbearable.

‘They picked on us because of our size to start with and they just haven’t let go, despite the fact we’ve done everything to lose weight and meet their demands. We’re going to fight this to the bitter end. It feels like even prisoners have more human rights than we do.’

The bullying and stand over tactics by the social workers and courts were deplorable.  Making them send their kids to dance and sport lessons is not sensible at all.  Why wouldn’t the courts give the children a say about whether or not they wanted to go to dance and football?  Ask a young girl suffering from obesity whether or not she would take up dancing, she would invariably say, “Over my dead body.”  Clocking in and out to satisfy court imposed curfews and having social workers stand in corners taking notes at dinnertime just added to the lunacy.

Society is too harsh on parents.  Parenting is a difficult job.  Instead of judging or punishing parents for bad choices, would it be too much trouble to offer real support and encouragement?  Has this couple ever once been offered free appointments with dieticians or councillors?
Soon we are going to get to the stage where it is socially acceptable to classify any parent with even a slightly overweight child as a reckless and sub-standard parent.

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