Our little girls love to play dress up ... with as many accessories as they can muster. They ooooh and ahhhh over anything sparkly, shiny or silky. They prefer to pick out their own outfits. They adorn themselves with fancy hair accessories and ask for nails that glitter. They want sparkly eye powder and "cheek blush" like mommy occasionally wears.
They boldy proclaim, "I'm so beautiful!"
All at once, in response to this seemingly innocent phrase, our parenting hearts both nod in agreement while at the same time lunging for God's truth.
We explain to our precious little girls that they are indeed beautiful, but "it's not because of your twirly dress, your sparkly earrings, your glittering nail polish, or the 7 hair pretties that adorn each of your heads. It's not even because of your big brown eyes, your thick heads of hair or the delicately scattered freckles that top your nose. You see, all of those things....the dresses, the princess crowns, the earrings, the nail polish, the hair pretties....those things make you fancy! It's fun to be fancy and it's okay to dress up and have fun and to feel fancy, but those things do not make you beautiful. You, sweet girls, are beautiful because God made you! He made you to shine like the stars in the sky. He made you a heart that is capable; moldable. It is your heart that makes you beautiful! When your heart is soft, you are shining radiantly and you are beautiful!
Our dear Big Miss, your heart is full of compassion. You are giving, sensitive, and empathetic and that makes you beautiful!
Our spunky Little Miss, your heart is full of contagious laughter. You are helpful and loving and that makes you beautiful!"
Eager to learn, Big Miss and Little Miss listened to our words with care.
We revisit this conversation often, so they know what it means to have a soft heart and to shine like a star. They also know that a hard heart is an ugly heart. However, there is comfort in knowing that we can, at anytime, invite the Holy Spirit to help us soften our hearts and restore beauty. All we have to do is ask and we will be forgiven and made new again. What a gift! Most often Big and Little Miss refer to the word fancy to describe their "look". Though we do still catch them, from time to time, twirling in front of a mirror saying "I'm so beautiful". We gently remind them, "You are dressed very fancy, but you are beautiful because your heart is full of kindness!" (or any other positive character trait they have recently been displaying)
We pray that knowing God's truth about beauty will continue to be a gift for our girls.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
It feels like second nature when commenting on beauty in reference to children to state "what a beautiful dress" or "cute shoes"'! We do it all that time and while this isn't necessarily super harmful, our words have a very large impact and little ears absorb everything. We are seeking wisdom to change this habit and instead praise our children's character rather than their outward appearance.