Not Mad. Motivated. to Share – Carrie, the Photographer

I was once very thin and it took a random shopping trip for me to figure that out. As a graduate student, I worked in a research laboratory within my department. Somehow, I ended up going shopping with a undergraduate student with whom I worked. She suggested a size 2 pair of jeans for me. I doubtfully tried them on and, surprisingly, I could “fit” them. After reading Carrie, the Photographer, the latest book from author Kira Parris-Moore, I remembered just how difficult it can be to see an honest, unbiased image of one’s self.

Book cover of Carrie, the Photographer

About Carrie, the Photographer

Carrie is a young woman who is forging a successful career as a photographer. Although Carrie takes beautiful pictures of others, she struggles with how she sees herself and develops an eating disorder. This book, for children age 9 and older, follows Carrie’s journey from self-doubt and self-harm to self-love.

Carrie, the Photographer is not just a story, it is a great way to start a conversation with children about body image. Please do not underestimate how important it is to help children develop a healthy image of themselves. A negative body image can lead to many self-destructive behaviors; conversations and modeling healthy behaviors can make a big difference.

After the Book: Let’s talk!

The lack of body confidence as a child or young adult can follow a person for a lifetime. Imagine the negative health impact caused by the mental angst over food and exercise. This is not only an “invitation” for the development of eating disorders, but can also

  • lead to other mental health disorders (including depression and anxiety)
  • affect one’s ability to be an integral part of the community leading to isolation and feeling unaccepted
  • become a building block for toxic relationships with harmful people.

There are direct and indirect messages telling children and young adults that they are not good enough. Play an active role to enforce that they are! Here are a few ways to help:

  • Let them know that every BODY is different and make being different normal – because it is!
  • Help them find beauty everywhere and they will learn to find beauty in themselves.
  • Compliment them often; not just about their looks but on their skills and intelligence, too.
  • Don’t insult anybody’s body – not even as a joke. Children can internalize your words even if your words are not aimed toward them.
  • Love your own body. Be the model that they need!
  • Listen to them. Make their voices matter and help build their self-worth.

Lessons From Carrie, the Photographer

There are many great lessons that you can take away from Carrie, the Photographer. This book is about a young adult named Carrie, but the story is actually told by a younger cousin. This help us remember the need to model healthy behaviors.

Carrie finds strength to get better with support. This lets us know that good support is the key to our success. No matter what your goal is, having support makes it easier to attain that goal. Children need to know that they are never expected to go through any difficulty alone.

We also learn to accept our differences and to focus on what makes us special. Let us make a point to show our children just how special they are to us and to the world.

The final lesson that I want to share is one that I did not expect from a children’s book. Remember: your benchmark for success will change as your self-worth and self-awareness improves! I love this. Too often, we gauge success on the money we make and the things we can buy. However, often, when we value ourselves more, the positive impact we have on others defines our success better than our bank accounts.

I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated.

I was very active as a teen and a young adult. Running track and participating in marching band, along with many other activities, kept me moving throughout high school. I walked SO MUCH in college and graduated school because I did not start driving until I was 24. And with the diverse group of students I interacted with in graduate school, I also danced a great bit! I stayed active. My body weight was healthy. Yet I found myself worried about how I looked physically many times during those years.

Did my lack of confidence in my appearance leave me vulnerable to a toxic relationship as an adult? Probably likely. But I am Not Mad. I am Motivated. Motivated to share stories like Carrie, the Photographer in the hopes to remind you that you are Beautiful – so that you can remind the children in your life that they are too!

Go tell someone that they are beautiful! This card I made will go to my 16 year old niece.

Teaching Future Leaders

Every day is a opportunity to make a better tomorrow!

For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!

Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.

Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier

A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene

There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.

Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.

Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.

Creating a Personal Hygiene Routine: Tips and Benefits

If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.

A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct

Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.

Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.

5 Ways To Teach Your Child To Trust Their Instincts, According To Experts

Check out 25 Things You Can Do Right Now To Build a Child’s Confidence!

Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be

No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.

Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.

Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.

End-of-Inventory Sale on Youth Shirts!
Stay Motivated!

Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.