It's My Body

or, the tricky nature of teaching body autonomy to my kids

We don’t force our children to hug anyone- even family members- because I want them to know they are in control of their bodies. Almost daily I reinforce the idea that their body belongs to them- but at 3 and 6 years old- they interpret this in ways that entirely miss the point.

For example:

My 3 year old’s favorite hobby is inventing new ways to get injured or injure someone else. The other day he found a broken broom handle and proceeded to whack the fan overhead ON PURPOSE. He lost control of the broom handle and it landed very close to my face. I shielded my face as it came toward me and told him not to do that anymore because someone could get hurt.

His response? “IT’S MY BODY!”

I tried (AGAIN) to explain to him that it IS his body - but the broom handle landing next to my head meant it wasn’t just his body that would be affected by his choices.

This is how I feel when people discuss their decision not to get vaccinated against Covid because it’s their body. (I do not mean people who have been told by medical professionals that it is more dangerous for them to get vaccinated)

We’re not talking about getting a tattoo or breast implants or whether or not you eat soy- we’re talking about a highly contagious virus that has killed 4 million people worldwide. The reality is, I am not in a room by myself poking a ceiling fan with a broom handle. The room is full of people who could be affected by my choice. I am just not willing to risk someone else’s life (or mine) because it is my right to do so.

And I really wish other people wouldn’t either.