When a viewer sent her an email calling her a poor role model because of her weight, TV news anchor Jennifer Livingston at first wanted to ignore it. After discussing it with her husband, however, she decided to go on the air to explain why the man who sent that email was wrong, and why this kind of behavior is never okay.
She did it because she realized it was this man who was being a bad role model. What if a kid overheard him making fun of the "fat news lady" and then went to school and told the kids there that they weren't worthy because of their weight? How would it make those kids feel?
Kids need to know that it's wrong to judge people based on physical appearance. Each person is so much more than he or she appears on the outside. And more importantly, we can't let the opinions of bullies--who don't really know us--determine how we feel about ourselves.
This is the same message I hope to get across to kids with Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey, particularly with the lesson plan for that book. Kids need to understand that bullies don't really know who they are and can't define how they see themselves. Every person is special. We each have unique talents, and the world is a better place when we're free to express those talents and be ourselves. Bullies try to take that away from other kids, and it makes the world a sadder place. It's wrong, and we have to let kids know that it's wrong.
Bravo to Jennifer Livingston! For the record, I think you're smart, talented, beautiful and very brave for taking a stand.