I can still feel the instant sharp pain…. from my grandmother’s nails, all five foot two of her as she scolded me for slouching. She often would reach up and pinch me just between the shoulder blades as a timely reminder to stand up straight, pull my shoulders back, and put my chest forward. Grandma was militant about it. I didn’t understand and therefore the lesson of standing up straight took a very long time to learn. Today, I’m surprised I don’t have a permanent scar on my back of nail imprints.
No longer am I the tallest, but for the longest time I was head and shoulders taller than all the girls and all the guys. By eight grade some girls had started catching up to me and a couple of the boys, but I was still tall, and still one of the very tallest as we lined up in height order for eighth grade graduation – I distinctly remember having to stand back to back with one other girl as they debated which one of us would walk out very last to graduation.
Today I’m thankful to my Grandmother and her pinching nails. While my posture isn’t perfect it is far better than it would have been without her pinches.
Lately I found myself eyeing my girlfriends’ pre-teen daughters and reminiscing over my grandmother’s pinching. I see these beautiful young ladies rounding their shoulders inward and whether it’s because of their newly developing boobs or the height differential they feel among their friends, I understand the desire to slouch. I feel like slouching is becoming an epidemic! And not just amid the young but also the middle-aged as well. I sat in church on Sunday looking around seeing countless adults with their shoulders rounded and many with small humps starting to form on their lower necks. Alarmed, I Googled slouching and epidemic, turns out many experts feel the same way I do, slouching is becoming a harmful epidemic. One harmful to our health. In a December 2016 article, Dr. Steven Weiniger, a posture expert and appointed delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, says, “There’s an epidemic I’m seeing now that’s not being recognized: Kids are becoming more hunched over than their parents.” Scary. One I don’t like as a parent to growing children.
The good news is like my grandmother’s reminders, we can correct our posture and help those around us. Awareness is the first step. I hope my boys thank me when they are older for all the shoulder-blade pinches they’ve started receiving more frequently.