When Allison Kimmey’s 5-year-old daughter, Cambelle, came home from school on Monday, she said she had something important to tell her mum. Her mum, who is outspoken with respect to her plus-size love, posted about the incident on Instagram.
“Yesterday at practice, my shirt came up a little bit and my tummy was showing,” Allison wrote, quoting Cambelle. “The girl next to me looked at me and said that my tummy was fat.”
“Oh no, here we go,” Allison thought to herself. Instead of voicing her concerns, the self-described “mama bear” decided to see how her daughter responded to words that were meant to be cruel.
“I said: ‘Oh really? And what did you say to her?'” Allison wrote in the Instagram post.
Cambelle responded: “I told her that I’m not fat, I HAVE fat. And that everybody has fat. And I told her it’s OK to have fat.”
The mum was ecstatic — she couldn’t believe that her 5-year-old daughter “had been able to handle a situation with more grace than most 30 year olds.”
Allison told her daughter, “Wow Cambelle! I am SO proud of you for the way you handled that situation. Fat is not a bad word, I don’t think she was trying to hurt your feelings. It was so brave of you to help her understand that all people have fat, but that no one IS fat. And that it doesn’t make you a bad person if you have more or less of it. Did she have anything to say?”
“She just said ‘oh, okay,'” Cambelle responded.
Thankfully, Allison has already begun to nurture body-positive values in her home — something that is particularly important when children are young and impressionable.
The mother and daughter were at the pool one warm spring day when Cambelle commented on her mum’s weight, questioning Allison’s stretch marks and where they come from.
The two sat down for a serious chat in which Allison explained, “The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE. But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy.”
On Monday, Cambelle recalled this incident and brought it to her mum’s attention.
“Remember that time I told you that you were fat? I’m sorry I did that.”
‘It’s okay baby,” her mum responded. “The most important thing is that you learned and now you can teach others and help change the world.”
Allison ended her post with an important reminder: Children aren’t born with hate inside them. They learn words from their environments, the things they see and the things they hear.
“I can’t prepare my daughter for all of life’s situations, but I can help her to be a voice of compassion, humility and love. And to anyone that will undoubtedly say that this is ‘promoting obesity,’ please understand that preventing childhood bullying before it can even start is not a matter of weight, but of character. Just do you babes.”
The post resonated with parents from across the globe.
“There are not enough words to express how I feel about the way you are literally changing the world, through the way you teach your daughter and the rest of us. You are a brilliant light in the world,” wrote @chilkewich.
And @crystalgtaylor said: “Wow, that brought me to tears. My little girl is 4 and my boys are 8 and 11. I can only hope to bring them up with the wisdom, confidence and grace to handle themselves and others as your precious child did yesterday.”