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by Jennifer Cowie King

“It was the best strawberry I’ve EVER had!” my ten year old daughter exclaimed. Eyes shining, grabbing my hand and tucking her head into my neck, her enthusiastic and energetic response propelled us like wayward bowling pins into the church parking lot.

Today we learned about mindfulness from a woman named Ann and we had to go through several steps before we could eat the strawberry. It was TORTURE! We used our four senses. First we passed around a bowl of strawberries and picked one out. Then we looked at it carefully and noticed the details of its seeds and color. Then we felt it with our fingers and checked whether it was rough or smooth, wet or dry. Then we put it to our ear and rustled it around next to our ear to see what that sounded like. Then … we got to smell it. It smelled so … good. And, THEN we got to taste it. We were supposed to take small bites, but I took a BIG bite and it was the best strawberry I’ve ever had!

This year’s theme for Summer Adventure Camp was “Fit to Change the World.” Over the course of a week the children spent time learning about God’s love and embracing that love through activities involving the body, mind and spirit. Whether exploring body image, mindfulness and physical fitness, welcoming Special Olympic athletes, sharing the joyfulness of song or taking time for silence, the pick up each day brought forth delightful opportunities for me to listen to my daughter’s discourse on camp and All Things All Saints.

You have to love yourself in order to love others.
Why do you think that is?
Because if you don’t love yourself you’re not happy and then if you’re not happy, you can’t love someone else.

My daughter is a full-fledged tween and beginning to navigate a world that overvalues the physical appearance of girls and women, creates unrealistic and unattainable expectations to look a certain way, ONE WAY – while ignoring and undervaluing the beauty and uniqueness of every human being.

Ms. Jenny talked to us about how there are these negative messages about body image that we can sometimes hear from family and friends, and from ourselves.
What do you think about that as it relates to your life?
I think it’s important to accept yourself the way you are. Your life will be better if you do that.

Here was an opportunity to sit down with my daughter and have a deeper discussion, to listen to her as she recounted each day and all that she had learned – to share the wonder of how each of us is loved by God, for our own uniqueness, and that we have the power within us to love ourselves and each other.

I put a post-it on my mirror. It says … I am beautiful.

Thank you, All Saints. For teaching our children that they are enough, more than enough – just as they are.

That all of us are Beautiful, Miraculous, and fit to change the world

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