Monday, January 21, 2013

Not Just in the Eye of the Beholder

LC told me the other day that she wants to be a real princess when she grows up. Like a Kate Middleton type princess. The dresses, the dancing, the flair for fashion...
the "long sleeve shirt under a smocked top" look

Her "barbie" outfit. Glamorously copied from a Barbie history library book

beach babe

band of head bands

scarf flair pose

I called this her sherbet outfit. The colors totally reminded me of rainbow sherbet.

her favorite sparkle tutu

goggle/swim ring look
This is my LC. And I love her so. And I sigh when I look at these pictures.

I sigh because of her flair. It makes my mama heart grimace and it makes me proud. It makes me proud because she could care less if everything doesn't match perfectly. She could care less if she looks ridiculous. She could care less what anyone else thinks of her outfits. (she loves them and that is all that counts) She could care less if it is a "bad" picture of her. If her smile is weird. Or her hair is messy.

Does any of that sound familiar to any of you? Familiar as in-exact opposite of our own thoughts. I've lost my flair. My could care less. I delete and delete pictures of me that just look awkward. As a matter of fact, I would love to delete that first picture of us decorating cookies. I don't like my hair or my smile. My eyes look a little glazed. Totally not a flattering picture.

LC is free from such inhibitions. She is happy with her looks. She is not concerned with how beautiful she is. She is just being herself.

And I did I get from there to here?

When did I start to care how I looked in photographs? When did I start to see myself as fat or ugly? When did I start to compare myself with others?

And, how can I encourage her, my sweet girl, to stay in this frame of mind she is in? How can I tell her everyday she is beautiful?

How can we teach our girls they are beautiful-no matter what anyone may say?

We can help them cultivate inner beauty. I think LC is beautiful outwardly. But, it is her personality that makes her shine. Even more than personality, though, inward-character beauty, that is what makes a woman beautiful. Growing in love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self control. Those are what makes a girl truly beautiful.

I don't think we can emphasize character development too much. But I also think that there is nothing wrong with complementing our children (girls) on how they look.

Christians have swung very far right (or wrong, in my opinion) in the matter of physical compliments. I was taught that complementing someone's physical beauty was the worst form of flattery. My husband was taught that too. We don't want to just emphasize the outward-especially at the cost of the inward. We don't want to produce a bunch of vain twits. there a balance?

Mr. Hippie actually told me when we were courting that he thought I was beautiful, but he didn't want to tell me too much, because he didn't want me to get a big head.

Yeah, I'd say he's lucky I married him.

And he did come around. He tells me I am beautiful everyday. My fat days and skinny days. My pregnant, beached whale days, and my buff and fit days. My bad hair days and the days when every hair is perfectly coiffed. He truly thinks I am beautiful-all the time.

And I love him for that.

We can teach our girls to love their bodies and be confident in their looks, by loving our bodies and being confident in our looks.

By not shying away from the camera, nor deleting all the "bad" pictures of ourselves.

By not complaining about our fat bellies, and thighs, and butts.

By not begrudging the stretch marks. Each and every one a mark of the blessings God has poured into our lives by way of our babies.

By taking delight in being a woman. Being feminine. Taking pride in dressing girly.

By taking care of our bodies-eating right, exercising, sleeping, doing our nails. All outward things, but all important. There is a maxim,

dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Let's treat ourselves as beautiful, and we will be beautiful.

By not letting their brothers, or any other person in their life, tease them about their weight or any other physical feature. Just not tolerate it.

We need to commit to loving our girls and making them feel lovable and beautiful-no matter how they look, no matter what they do.

We need to encourage them to be girls, to be princesses, all their lives.

Growing up, my dad called me his precious princess. My sister, Bek, was his princess peach. I am sure Lyd and Kate both had a princess moniker too.

We need to remind them of what they knew as girls-their worth and beauty is not defined by Hollywood. It isn't defined by a certain color hair, or a small dress size, or a brand.

Their beauty is a inner beauty that spills over to the outside. Their beauty is character. Their beauty is spunk. Their beauty is individual.

"Beauty is not based on how attractive we are to everybody else, but how attractive we are to ourselves, for one cannot think other people think they are full of beauty unless they know they are beautiful too."-unknown

"What no beautician would ever tell a woman is that the secret to being beautiful is thinking the right thoughts."-unknown

"He has made everything beautiful in His time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

" Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Is it possible for our girls to not grow up with our beauty issues? Can we shorten their re-learning curve? Can we, by our own examples, teach them true beauty?