I first saw this video a few weeks ago and have not been able to get it out of my mind. I long to successfully teach my children that their value is not in the exterior. I catch myself telling Gracie she is pretty more often than I'd like. Yes, she is cute and yes I think she is pretty but more than that, she is kind and gentle and sweet. I want to do everything in my power to reinforce the qualities in her that make her beautiful in an eternally lasting way.
More mornings than not growing up, my appearance was dissected-
"Why aren't you wearing mascara? Your eyes disappear into your face without it."
"Why do you wear those pants? They add twenty pounds. It's like you don't want to look good."
"You can't dress like other kids and teenagers, you are classically pretty in an adult way and you should dress like it."
"Don't put your hands in your pockets. It makes you look wide."
"Your hair color doesn't flatter your skin tone."
"Every time you put that skirt on, we go through this, it does not look good on you."
"DON'T WEAR HORIZONTAL STRIPES."
When I was being disciplined, my punishment was to dress me in clothing that was unattractive and my mascara and eyeliner were taken away. To be unpretty was considered the biggest punishment and sin of all.
I was wearing leather mini skirts and halter dresses by first grade. By age 11, I put myself on a diet to get down to 95 pounds from 100. (I accomplished this goal). I was encouraged to date early and the biggest achievement coming home from school was not an A, but having been asked to the movies the next Friday night. Sexy was who I should be. Attractive was who I should be.
In reality I had no idea who I was or who I should be.
I'm almost 30 years old, and I know now- I am more than pretty. I am kind and smart, and a loving wife and mother and child of God. I'm also flawed, but just as pretty does not define me, neither do my shortcomings because I focus my efforts on who I am called to be and am on a constant journey to improve my heart.
To be ugly inside is the worst transgression. Not horizontal stripes. Sometimes I still have to tell myself this. I hope Gracie won't.
A note before you watch: there is language around 2:40