When my son was thirteen he started to slouch. His tailbone would be inches from the back of a chair and his shoulders rounded. As his concerned mother, I went into action to get him to correct his poor posture. I started with reminders to sit and stand straight which led to nagging which led to pleading which led to bribing which led to scare tactics which led to appealing to his vanity. I told him he would develop painful back problems in later life, along with osteoarthritis and diminished lung capacity. I told him slouching gave an impression of laziness and defeat. I pulled out my big guns and told him that he was far too handsome to ruin his 5’11” with crappy posture. Nothing I said worked. I cut out posture improvement regimens from magazines and offered to pay for massages if he stood up straight. But nothing I did worked either. At some point, he told me to let it go so I decreased my posture comments to twice a year and then zipped my lips altogether. I haven’t mentioned his posture to him in four years.
Yesterday, he phones from Alaska where he is working as a petroleum engineer for Conaco Phillips. He is now 25 years old. “Mom, I have a second birthday present for you.” (His first present was a mason jar filled homemade bath salts wrapped with enough duct tape it to keep it safe for the three thousand mile journey from him to me. By the way it was the best bath salts I’ve ever used.) “Mom, today I bought a yoga mat and made a commitment to improve my posture.”
“We’ll that’s great, son. Why did you do this again?”
“As a birthday present for you.”
We’ll I am way too smart to believe that one. Perhaps it was because he is now 5”10” or maybe because his girlfriend and him are on a health regime. They swim, work out, eat fish and bake their own biscuits with spelt flour. “Scott, as a yoga teacher, an occupational therapist and your mother, I am delighted.” And then I slipped in one last comment to seal the deal. “I always thought that you are way too handsome to ruin the total package with bad posture.” He shared my comment with his girlfriend and she agrees.