Raising a little girl who believes she is beautiful just the way God created her is challenging in our society. I know this. It is one of my goals that I shall do all in my power to enable my daughter to believe the truth, that she is lovely however she is, because she is God's.
Anne Lamott has a wonderful chapter on this in her new book, Grace (Eventually) that I am currently enjoying. She talks about the eyes being the window the soul...about how beauty is something that is believed and therefore evidenced in our eyes... regardless of what our appearance looks like as compared to fashion magazines.
But our culture is so appearance focused, that I dread the day that my daughter stops believing me when I say she looks great running out of school in a formal dress, with ripped stockings, and elastic head band sun glasses pushing half of her bangs off of her forehead. Truly, she looks so beautiful, so full of life and abandon. Is there anything more precious a sight than my daughter running toward me a smile of joy?
We try to keep our kids away from as much media garbage as possible, without total deprivation. We do this by allowing them to watch Public Television and Food TV. Disney channel only on the weekends, when Public TV doesn't run kids programs.
On Sunday morning, I was sitting in my office, printing my last draft of my sermon (my usual routine that I go over it one more time, then print). My freshly awake daughter was next to me on the sofa watching "The Wiggles" (after protesting she is much too old for the Wiggles now that she is 5...she agreed to suffer through it for a few more minutes). There was an entire segment about "General GoodBloke" who was coming for a visit. They listed off all of the reasons why General GoodBloke is such a good bloke. All of them had to do with his appearance! He has a coat with shiny buttons, shiny shoes, etc. I hardly remembered all that they said.
So I turned to my daughter and said "isn't that silly? How could they know if he is a good person by what he is wearing?" She giggled at the silliness, and heartily agreed with me.
As I sat there, I thought about how many more messages she must encounter in the course of the average week that tell her that appearances make all the difference. I am sure I counteracted just one of thousands she has already received.
I hope that a few counteractions make up for a few hundred of these messages. And I pray that my kids will know that no matter what, they are beautiful.