There’s a lot of things when it comes to parenting that I have no idea about. Should I feed them only organic foods or risk it with the milk? Is there a way to make my kids read more? Should I limit screen time or give myself a break in the afternoons and let everyone zone out for a while? What is a good education? Do we pray enough as a family? How can I make my kids go to bed earlier?
But one of the things I have no doubt about is this: I will always tell my daughter she’s beautiful.
I know it’s not the politically correct thing to do these days. I know I should be telling her she is smart, talented, kind, and tough. I know I should not be focused on outward appearances but encourage character and intrinsic rewards.
I tell her she’s beautiful almost every day.
And here’s why—I know how hard this world can be. I know that even though we have made great strides in treating girls with equality, it’s not enough. I know there will be competition out there—some good and some bad. I know my daughter will have to grow a very thick skin to be a teenage girl, a college student, and a young mom one day. Being a girl is not for the faint of heart.
So I tell her she’s beautiful. I tell her she’s beautiful because I want her to recognize the look of pure adoration and love in my eyes. I want her to see it on my face now, so one day she will learn to look for it in a future spouse’s face. I want her to know how it feels for someone else to think she is beautiful. I want her to have that all her life, whether it comes from parents or a spouse or her own children one day. It’s important to know that the ones you love see beauty in you.
I tell her she’s beautiful because when she looks in the mirror, I want her to see beauty there.
I watch her young, hungry eyes now, always trying to figure out what the world is telling her is beautiful. Hair and make-up and clothes. The shape of her body or how tall she is. I want her to know none of that makes her beautiful. Beauty is not something you can buy or create, it’s who you are.
I tell her she’s beautiful because she is a child of God. No one else is created like her. She has a spark placed within her that no one can match. She needs to know she was made to be a masterpiece, both inside and out. God does not make ugly.
I tell her she’s beautiful because she is. Sometimes she takes my breath away with her beauty. She will smile a certain way, throw her head back and laugh, twirl around the living room to music only she can hear, and I think to myself “She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.” Every girl deserves to be thought of like that. Every girl should be the most beautiful girl a person has ever seen.
And finally, I tell her she’s beautiful because from that one simple statement I whisper to her almost every day, my daughter does not put beauty on a pedestal.
Being beautiful is not something she considers important to her character. As a matter of fact, this year she completed an art project in school where she had to draw a self-portrait and use words to describe herself. Do you know the words she wrote? Not pretty or beautiful or gorgeous. She wrote that she was fun, kind, caring, and smart. Beauty never even made it on the list.
I’m not sure why she didn’t write down that she was beautiful, but if I had to guess, I would think that it was because to her, knowing she is beautiful has given her the confidence to also realize she is all those other things.
Because she believes she is beautiful, she can be kind and fun and caring and smart.
Because she believes she is beautiful, she makes friends easily and has a heart of gold.
Because she believes she is beautiful, she sees beauty in her teachers and her friends.
Because she believes she is beautiful, she has eyes that search it out in others.
Because she believes she is beautiful, she is.