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Monday, August 1, 2011

more than just a pretty face

My friend has a beautiful young daughter. She is so beautiful, in fact, that that is the precise issue my friend deals with.

People stop my friend in water parks or amusement parks or in the grocery store to tell her just how beautiful her daughter is. They tell her the little girl should be a model, that my friend should enroll her right this minute in acting and beauty classes.

My friend is not naive. She knows her daughter is beautiful, stunning really. She and her husband know this. And yet it bugs them to hear it over and over again, because they know that's not all she is about and it's certainly not all they want her to think she's about.

My friend is trying to teach her daughter that she's more than just a pretty face. When her daughter asks people if they like her dress, my friend says "It's not what others think that matters, it is what you think, do you like your dress? If you do, that's all that matters."

I get something along these lines when my one-year-old son cries after falling down and hurting himself and people say "you're a big boy, be tough, don't cry." Already, really? Why does he have to be so tough? I'm sure some of the people who say this to my son are just trying to help him move on from the pain, get through it, not have a temper tantrum. That I can understand. Yet it still doesn't sit well with me, this making our kids be something they shouldn't have to be at such young ages.

I admire my friend, trying to teach her daughter what really matters. I hope someday if I have a daughter I try the same thing. I'm sure it's not easy. I for one will stop and think the next time I comment on how pretty my niece or my friend's daughters are. I admit I've done this a thousand times, without realizing what the parents must hear over and over about their daughters. My friend said there is nothing wrong with thinking her kid is cute and adorable and even beautiful. She just hopes her daughter also is told how strong and smart and kind she is, too.

Something to think about...

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