DEAR HARRIETTE: My kids go to a private school. We saved all we could to get them there and received a bit of financial aid.
Now that summer is here, they are noticing the differences between us and some of their friends. Many of their peers are off to Europe or some other fancy vacation destination. Some are at sleepaway camp. We can’t afford that.
We do want to design a special summer for them, but what we normally do is go down South to visit family for the summer. The kids play with their cousins and get to see their grandmother. That has been their fun up until now.
I want to keep up that tradition and somehow get them to see the value in that.
How can I make that happen when they keep comparing themselves with their school friends?
DEAR SUMMERTIME: In order for your children to thrive in their new school, you must teach them to honor and value your way of living.
No matter what their peers have or do, your children must be able to look at their own lives and smile because they recognize people, traditions and experiences that make them happy. Visiting the family is an age-old pastime that you should celebrate.
As your kids spend time with family, help them to notice what’s special about their time together. It is a blessing to have a living grandmother. What can they learn from her? What do they do there that’s different from at home? Invite them to tell you stories of their experiences so that they will have harvested interesting things to share when they see their friends.
You can also take them on local adventures in your town. What are the sites and scenes that are specific to where you live that you may not have explored? Get creative and make memories with your children. The joy they draw upon when they share how they have spent their time may help them feel more comfortable around kids who have done more expensive things.
DEAR HARRIETTE: After months of hard work, I’m finally happy and comfortable with my current weight.
I’ve been documenting my fitness journey on Instagram. I’ve been receiving a ton of positive comments from strangers and acquaintances, but also some backhanded compliments from the people I happen to be the closest to.
My aunt commented, “Keep it up!” under my latest post, where I showed a before-and-after transformation of my body. A friend of mine commented something similar.
Am I right to be offended by these types of comments? I never expressed that I wanted to keep losing weight in my post, so why should they encourage that?
DEAR BACKHANDED: I believe you are being too sensitive right now.
It is true that exposing your vulnerabilities on social media — as well as virtually anywhere else — can be daunting. You want to share with people to be supported and create awareness, but you are left in a precarious position.
Your loved ones saying, “Keep it up!” is not rudeness, at least not at face value. I’m sure they thought they were being kind. It takes a lot to lose weight and maintain once you reach your goal. Furthermore, to be fit requires that you “keep it up” so that you don’t backslide — even when you don’t feel like doing the work anymore.
Give them the benefit of the doubt. My guess is that they were being 100% supportive. Assume that to be the case, and use their comments as rocket fuel to keep working on your vessel so that you can stay healthy.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.