I was waiting for an appointment when an email came through that made me aware of the story of the letter pictured above. The appointment was for yet another avenue that I’m trying in an effort to get my weight under control. When I read that there’s a woman who is going to hand out letters identifying children she considers fat and advising their parents to ration Halloween candy, I wanted to cry because I immediately felt the pain and shame of any child who might be handed that letter. If I had been in the privacy of my own home, I may have actually cried.
Here’s the story: Cheryl, from Fargo, N.D., will be making a quick judgment call when trick-or-treaters ring her doorbell on Halloween night. She’ll eye the kids and give candy to the ones she finds thin enough, and give a letter to the ones she thinks are “moderately obese.” It’s not clear if she’ll also give candy to the kids who get the letter. "Today" told the story this morning, along with a snippet from an interview that Cheryl did with a local radio station.
I wonder how Cheryl thinks this letter will get into the hands of the parents. Unless a child is very little, parents don’t come to the door. They’re either not with the kids or they hang back, letting the kids do their thing. Will Cheryl be calling the parents up to the door and handing the letter directly to them or will she be handing it to the child?
I wonder if Cheryl ever had problems with her weight as a child. My problems with my weight started when I was 7. It went up and down throughout childhood based on the stress level I had at home and school. I can guarantee you that a letter like this, stuck into my candy bag, would never have made it into the hands of my parents. Rather, it would have sent me directly to my bedroom with my bag of candy to comfort me as I felt ashamed.
I wonder if she thinks that if the letter makes it into the hands of parents, she’s doing them a favor because she believes she’s pointing out something they don’t already know. That her good deed will make them say, “Oh. Maybe I should pay attention to my child’s weight.” It won’t. Parents who have children with weight problems are well aware of it. Those who care are doing what they can.
I wonder if she’s taken into consideration that a child’s weight might not be his biggest issue at the moment. Maybe he’s just lost a family member and has put on some weight in his grief. Maybe she’s being bullied and her parents understand that they can’t help her with both issues at the same time.
I wonder if this woman has a heart. Really, I do.
(And there's a part of me that wonders if this whole thing is a morning radio show hoax, because it's just so mean.)
I hope the residents of Fargo identify this woman’s home and make sure no kids knock on her door. I hope they do it in a peaceful manner and give this woman as little attention as possible.
I hope no radio station or television station or blogger knocks on her door or calls her on the phone or sends her an email asking her to explain herself any further. She doesn’t deserve a spotlight.
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