I just spoke to a group of young girls about virtue and purity and I was struck with the pressures they are under with body image, appearance etc. How do you teach your 4 daughters and your young women at church that what they are is enough and they don't need to look to celebrities/society to see what they need to be? I want to teach my daughter that she is beautiful and fight that attitude out there that looks are what is most important...any advice?
This is so tough in a society that needs articles like this to remind us what level of beauty young girls are trying to achieve. It makes me so sad...and even a little bit mad.
I've been thinking about this a lot this last week because the girl from American Idol who presented at Time Out for Girls last week gave a powerful message about beauty. She came all decked-out to give her speech...fake eyelashes, tons of make-up, fancy clothes, etc. Then she asked the girls what they think makes them beautiful. They gave her a bunch of answers (mostly about what makes them beautiful in the world's view). Then she asked if her fancy high-heeled shoes made her beautiful. They answered with a resounding "yes!" So she took them off and asked if her bedazzled belt made her beautiful. This time they were a little unsure, but some still answered with "yes." Then she proceeded to take off her eyelashes, lipstick, make-up, etc. with the same questions and by the end the girls got the point...she was left with only her inner-beauty. And that was what was most important in the long-run.
Sure, it's important to take care of our bodies and try to look nice. One of my wise neighbors with grown, well-adjusted, gorgeous girls used to always tell those girls to spend a little time in the morning getting ready and then leave out the door for their day only thinking about others. That is what will make you beautiful. Because in my opinion inner beauty far outreaches outer beauty.
That's really tough for a teenager to understand, but I figure if we start young and emphasize it over and over again maybe they'll get it.
Are some of your girl’s hair highlighted? Or is their hair naturally blond? At what age can they highlight their hair?
I think the example of a mother is such a huge influence in the lives of girls. My dear mother is my greatest hero and I've always looked up to her. She never spent much time on herself so I never thought a lot about those kinds of things growing up. It helped that she was naturally beautiful, but what makes my mom most beautiful to me is her inner light and the way she loves everyone around her completely unconditionally.
Because of her example I don't think I ever even knew what a "highlight" was until well after I was married. And I hope to follow my mom's example in prioritizing other things over those things. If my girls see me always worrying about make-up or hair appointments or what I wear then that's what they will probably focus on as well. As much as I believe it's important to look nice, I'd rather focus the majority of my time on other things.
I just started getting my hair cut at an actual salon a couple months ago only because the lady who cut my hair out of her friend's house started her own salon, and I get highlights on occasion because I'm old. I have taken Elle to get her hair professionally cut twice and Grace once (the others never). We just keep it simple and I do it myself because that's what I grew up with...that's all I knew.
So, in answer to your question my girls are lucky to have natural highlights which I hope will help them not even think of highlights for a long, long time...not because highlights are bad, but because they'll have plenty of time for that later when they start popping out with their own gray hairs.
I think it's important to take good care of our faces and hair and bodies, but I hope I can help my girls find a good balance there.
Are your kids going to get their teeth bleached as soon as they get their braces off? Is that something you would allow?
This is not a question about girls, but kind of goes together...
Max had pretty yellow teeth when he got his braces off. I didn't notice it until he brought it up and was a little self-conscious about it. I let him use a little of my teeth bleaching gel I got from my dentist friend to remedy the situation.
Again, I want to be like my wise neighbor and let kids feel confident with how they look with little fixes like that, and then be confident enough to go out the front door and think of others rather than their yellow teeth.
And as far as the shaving issue goes (from this post), I was out of town when this posted and got a slew of questions about "when" and "why" that I never had a chance to respond to.
Does a 10-year-old really believe the, "because you have to do it forever" line? I worry mine will say, "good, I want to do it forever!" Is it wrong to use peer pressure for leverage to go my way?!!
The question of the day is, what age is "right?"
I know we all have to decide for ourselves, but in our family, having daughters 2.5 years apart is harder than I thought.
Our 12 year old hasn't shaved and is just asking, but doesn't really need to. Our 9.5 year old wants to and is seriously very hairy but I've told her not yet. How can I be fair? Ahhh--I'm an only daughter with four brothers. I just don't get this sister/fairness stuff sometimes! What would you do? Does it have to be an "age" or should I just let the younger do it earlier than the first since it's going to bother her soon?
I really think open discussion is key. Grace and I have had a few really open conversations about this since her little shaving accident incident a couple weeks ago (click here for more details) and I'm so grateful for the opportunity it has provided to see her point of view and to express mine. I just don't want her to grow up too fast! And shaving is a pain. But I do have to look at her side: she has pretty hairy legs (so does Claire) and it doesn't help that Max was making fun of them.
Girls want to grow up so darn fast these days!! I think the media certainly does not deter this...magazines with kids all dolled up and tv shows with girls with attitude talking back to their parents with cell phones in their back pockets. I loved reading this article I referenced above (sent in by a blog reader) which further proves my point.
It's funny because in so many ways I want my children to see the world...I want them to have their eyes opened that their little pocket here in the desert is NOT the center of the world. But then I want to shelter them and build a little bubble around them so they won't grow up so fast. And I think that's just fine by me.
I don't know that there is a magical age for when they should "start" growing up, but I just think talking about it openly together will give the answer.
As far as life being "fair," I used to hate it when my mom told me "life isn't fair," but I have to admit that she sure was right. The sooner we teach kids this fact the better. If they're always looking for what's "fair" in life they're not going to be trained to look for the good things in their own life and quit comparing to others.