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VERY Pretty.

We were in the middle of a two hour drive home.  My seven year old daughter, Addie, was sitting in the back seat talking with her brother about who knows what, laughing, giggling, singing.  Occasionally someone would say, "MOM. Tell him to stop annoying me."  "MOMMM. Tell her to stop singing!"

After awhile, the back seat had grown quiet.  I thought maybe they had fallen asleep, or were listening to the radio.

But then I heard a tiny little voice say, "mommy?"
I turned around.  Addie was looking at me with very sad, slightly worried eyes that were starting to well up with tears.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
She waited for a few seconds, and then she whispered, "do I look like a boy?"
She kept her eyes down on her folded hands.
What do I say? There isn't anything wrong with boys, of course.  Or looking like one.  But what she was really asking me here was, "am I pretty?"  I looked at her, a little caught off guard, because her bubbly, happy demeanor had suddenly changed to hunched over, embarrassed, sad.

Curious, I asked, "Addie, why would you think that?"

She opened up her hands to reveal a small, silver compact mirror covered with different colored jewels.  She just looked down at it, tears in her eyes, looking at her reflection.

What goes through my mind?  A thousand things. I looked over at my husband who was in the driver's seat. He was focused on the road. I wasn't sure if he had even heard her at first.  He looked over at me like he didn't really know what to say.

So I started in with the usual, "You're so beautiful.  You do not look like a boy at all. You look like YOU. You are pretty and kind and so very special. You're a princess. You're a daughter of the King of Kings.   You're gorgeous.  Don't ever look in the mirror and think otherwise.  You are breathtaking..."  I continued with my assault on the lies attempting to take hold in her heart.  But still she sat there, starring at the mirror, downcast.

After I finished, she muttered, "ok".  But nothing changed in her appearance.  She still believed the lies bombarding her little heart.  I didn't know what to do.  So I nudged my husband, who's mind was off figuring out the day and all he had to do.  He wasn't really paying attention.  I'm sure he had trailed off during my lecture. He was driving, he was focused, he figured, "she's got this."

My elbow startled him and he realized what was going on and said, "oh...uh...Addie you're VERY pretty."

I was immediately annoyed. I thought, That's it?  That's all?  I just spoke truth for 10 minutes about beauty and freedom and all you have to say is "you're very pretty?"

Just as I was about to give him the look and pinch him or something, I looked back.

Addie was smiling into the mirror, beaming.  Her brother, after hearing his dad chime in, said, "Addie you'd have to be looking into a fun-house mirror to think you looked like a boy."  She gazed at herself and laughed. Then she shut the mirror, put it away, and continued her work annoying her brother with her singing.

Um. What? I pour over her all these lovely words about how wonderful she is and all she does is quietly mutter, "ok."  But my husband says four words and she believes him.  She believed him.  And my son followed suit.

Dads, tell your little girls that they're pretty.  They long to hear it.  And they long to hear it from you.  A little girl wants to know she is lovely.  There's something in them that needs to hear that from you.  They'll want to hear it from a man someday, and if you don't tell them, good luck.  Because she'll put her trust in the man who calls out her beauty.  And snakes know how to call out beauty and lure a girl into deceptive love. They've been doing it since the beginning.  But if you tell her, she'll be so much more likely to be able to see the deception for what it is. And she'll wait for a man who adores her the way her daddy does.  The way she saw her daddy adore her mother. Tell your little girl that she is pretty.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, as I learned that day.  It just needs to be said by YOU.  Your example will set up her expectations for men in her life. And your sons are watching as well.  Silas saw his dad chime in and he followed his example.


And please, if you know a little girl who has lost her daddy whether by tragedy or by abandonment, please please please do her the honor of calling out her beauty as well.  Uncles, love and honor your wives so your nieces can see what love is supposed to look like. Friends, send your friend's daughter a bouquet on her birthday and tell her she's wonderfully lovely.  Let her mom know why you want to do this, so she understands.  Ask permission, of course.

I don't know what it is about these words coming from father-figures.  But our girls need to hear the truth about who they are.  And both mothers and fathers need to fight for their girls' hearts.  She heard my words. I know they weren't empty to her.  But my husband's simple addition of, "you're VERY pretty," made her believe them.
I'd also like to add:  There is nothing wrong with looking like a boy or being a boy or anything along those lines.  And there is certainly much more to calling out a girl's beauty than simply calling out physical beauty. But in this particular instance, Addie was falsely looking into the mirror and not seeing her feminine features, her pretty eyes, her beautiful hair, her smile.  We make sure to point out the inner beauty in her as well whenever she questions that aspect of herself.  In this particular instance, it was her physical beauty that she was being deceived about.  We absolutely encourage her to be herself, always.

Comments

  1. This is perfectly written, Jennie!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A tug on the heart strings....written with wisdom words...thanks you Jennie!

    ReplyDelete

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