This morning, sipping on coffee on the front porch, Clarabelle joined me with breakfast pudding (yogurt) still shimmering in her curls. Now, as I have said before, she has officially entered into the “why” stage of childhood where everything that we say, we must be prepared with a follow-up explanation. This morning, however, as I looked at her dimples and blonde girls in the morning sunlight I immediately said, without planning for a follow-up, “you are so pretty” to which she replied….(insert drumroll), “but why am I pretty?” and I knew that I was at a significant crossroads with this young, impressionable little girl.
Pretty, for so many of us, is a natural reaction to someone’s appearance. We hear that beauty is skin deep with confirms this reaction. Beauty, or being pretty, is taught to be something that we see with our eyes.
Beauty is NOT skin deep! It comes from within!
Now, every time we speak to a child we are teaching them. We have the power to shape their perception of the world and of themselves. We have the power to teach them why they are pretty!
Back to the immediate conversation. “but why am I pretty,” I thought for a moment and responded, “you are pretty because you are smart. You are pretty because you are sweet. You are pretty because you say please and thank you. You are pretty because you are nice to other people.” “REALLY?” she asked with a sparkle of amazement. “Yes, those are the things that make you pretty!”
I took this conversation and thought about how it applies to our daily lives. We become so attached to our physical traits, our appearance, our body that we forget what truly matters about ourselves. My dearest friend, Heather from Why do we Wait? and My Dear Friend.. , is at this very moment being prepared for an amputation of her lower leg. When we faced this possibility a couple of years ago, she could not imagine that she would be the same person following such a surgery. She believed, at that time, that she was only the sum of her parts. I am so proud to state that she is braving this surgery with the open eyes of a nearly three-year-old as she now knows that her beauty, her kindness, and her intelligence is the whole of who she is.
I realize that, as my granddaughters grow, they will be faced with the world’s version of being pretty. It is my prayer for them that they always remember that they are beautiful because of who they are and that they are not who they are because of their physical appearance.
Beauty can only be seen with our eyes closed,