Wednesday, March 4, 2009

All-New Friendly Friend Game, Part 2

(This one will be an instant version of this game.) Here's the question. Would I rather my child be overweight or have an average intelligence? Think for a moment before looking at the answer...3...2...1...

Average intelligence. Hands down. Chuck and I were recently discussing this and I was shocked at my answer.

Yes, I would love if Rhett turns out to be smart. Chuck and I think that we are fairly intelligent beings and really appreciate intelligence in others (although the really dumb ones can be quite hysterical at times, as long as they're not driving). We even find smart to be sexy. We have smart friends, some smart family (ha), and in general, like to be around smart people. However, people with average intelligence have done great things. Having an average intelligence might teach Rhett to work that much harder. Maybe he would appreciate his strengths more than others with whom things come more naturally. And since he'd have average intelligence, he'd be where most people are: in the middle.

But being overweight puts you in a different class. During the school years, being overweight can so severely affect your self-esteem that, I believe, it can influence some serious decisions made during those years. It can affect your choice of friends, your level of involvement in school activities, your relationships with everyone, not to mention your health. I just think it's dangerous, both physically and emotionally.

Certainly we're doing everything we can for him to have a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. We've read to him since he was born, but also make sure he works his body (the walking has helped with this). School will be his number one priority, but we both want physical activity to also be an important part of the entire family's lives. But if I had to choose, well, you know...

What about you? If you feel like you have average intelligence, would you trade it for a genius-level IQ if it meant you had to be overweight? And if you feel like you're smart and overweight, would you dumb yourself down for a slimmer you? And what is your choice for your kids (as if you really had the option for choosing)?


  1. I think I would choose average intelligence for my kids, as well. I've ben overweight my entire life and it's a CONSTANT struggle for me. I just have no metabolism and no matter how well I eat, I have to exercise constantly to keep from gaining weight and at this point in my life I just can't do that.

    Would I trade my intelligence for a slimmer me? No...ironic, I know. With my intelligence, I've had many doors open to me...including a free ride to college at a very pricey private college. Because of my intelligence, I'm not intimidated to home school my children. So I would still choose my intelligence because I've already suffered through the really bad years of being teased and self-pity from being overweight. Now people just love me for me...we tend to have greater insight as adults and weight is not such a social barrier anymore.

  2. i would opt for average intelligence as well (for me and my kids). you can fool a higher intelligence (not by lying - but by good study habits, work ethics, hard work in general, etc.), but you can't really fool a lower weight. well, i mean, of course you can tell the DMV you weigh 110 pounds. but when people look at you they know if you're overweight or not.

    besides the fact that one of the qualities i most dislike is laziness. it bugs me so bad. maybe that's why i don't like wilson (my dog) as much as i used to.

  3. What do you have against fat smart people?
    Dr. Hemmert Ph.D.
    -Class II Obese and marathon runner-

  4. hmmm...i don't have anything against them, but obesity is just not something i'd chose for my own children.

    however, i'm afraid that you might have something against yourself, you know, giving yourself TWO titles that you haven't even earned yet....just sayin'.

  5. My apologies I should have said Future Dr. Hemmert Ph.D.

    I am sorry but this blog post really bothered me. You can't always choose whether your child is obese. Sure you can encourage healthy eating and exercise but there is a large genetic component. And "average intelligence", really? That sounds so egotistical. I know you and c are both smart, but I think you are being judgmental and demeaning of obese people. We aren't in a different class. I have been "obese" since I was a kid and it has never hindered my life. I was way active in school and have lots of great friends. This is a non-productive question...and it really bothers me.

  6. of course i didn't mean to bother anyone with this post.

    first, what would you rather have me use other than "average intelligence" to convey someone who isn't necessarily a genius, but also knows enough to get by? i guess i chose what made sense to me. and please, by no means do i consider myself a genius. do i think i'm smart? yes. confident? yes. but a genius? not even close.

    second, instead of obese, i could have used red-haired or short, or any other characteristic. i choose obese because in society obese people are generally treated differently from non-obese people; this has been shown in study after study. the same could be said for short people, something i know first-hand. but it just seems that people who are obese (as compared to those who are short or red-haired) have far larger obstacles in society than others. and i'd rather my kids not have to fight against that. that's all.

    i know that being obese can be genetic. but i also know that it can be caused by laziness. do you not remember when i was overweight? (hmm...maybe not, but i was overweight until i graduated from grad school.) my size was due to striahgt-up laziness. in fact, i was only .1 away (on the bmi scale) from being obese (and acutally obese when my height is entered as 5'0", but as i'm 5'1/2", well, i'll never know since the computer won't take a decimal). i know what it's like and garner that it was harder for me than you because i was a girl. so having lived through that hell, would i wish that for my own kids? not a chance. would i wish them to be taller than i? of course, but i have zero control over that. obesity, however, is something i can try to do something about.

    i'm really happy that you felt unencumbered by your own weight. however, that was not my experience. and i don't wish it on my kids. that's it.

  7. ooh, and i meant to add that i am sorry that you were bothered. sorry!

  8. one more p.s. the american obesity association says that, "Persons with obesity are frequently the victims of discrimination. Obesity is often described as the last 'acceptable' form of discrimination based on physical appearances."

    if you want to suggest other forms of physical appearance which you believe bring discrimination, by all means, suggest away! but this is exactly what i was talking about. would i rather my kids have an iq of 100 (or whatever average intelligence means to me), or face this "last acceptable form of discrimination" due to obesity? my answer remains the same.

  9. Interesting question.

    I think I would choose that my children be overweight. Alot of it depends on your own history and perspective. If you are overweight something can be done about can lose weight.

    However, if you are talking about the smarts you are born with you can't change that. I know people with average smarts can work really hard and become very successful. But people who are naturally smart have a huge advantage over those who aren't in my opinion.

    Again I think alot of this decision depends on your own history. I never struggled with my weight until after I was married. But I've always been of average intelligence at best. I guess you always want what you don't have. People who struggled with their weight growing up chose that their kids not to be overweight. People who are of average intelligence or worse choose for their kids to be smart.

    Just my opinion of course.