Friday, April 8, 2011

True Beauty

I have a beautiful daughter. She was beautiful when she was born, with long, delicate fingers, enormous, blue eyes, and a full head of black hair. She was a beautiful 8-month-old, when she surprised us by going blond. She was an adorable pixie of a preschooler, charming everyone she met with her generous smiles and outgoing nature. Now she is 8 1/2, and grows more beautiful every day. When we walk her through the halls of her school each morning, she is greeted by kids of all grade levels. On Sunday mornings at church, she is loved by her teachers and classmates. Each day at swim team, her teammates and coaches are delighted to see her. Everyone knows and loves my girl. She is truly beautiful, and her beauty is magnetic.

As I list her features, I know how physically gorgeous she is. She has:
Sparkling, blue eyes
Clear, soft skin
Silky, healthy, blond hair
Slightly irregular teeth and an infectious smile
A toned, muscular body
Graceful, delicate hands
Adorable dimples

But the kids at school and church and swim team aren't drawn to my daughter because she is gorgeous. The beautiful spirit inside of her is the source of her magnetism. In this era of obsession with physical beauty and the sexualization of younger and younger girls, I believe it is important to teach my daughter that true beauty comes from within.

I wanted to take her away for the weekend during spring break so we could spend time together to discuss true beauty and the power of modesty. However, our budget took some unexpected hits (root canal, car repairs, rising gas prices), and the getaway was not feasible. So we went away for the day instead.  Here are the highlights of what we covered.

1. God gave us the gift of our bodies. It is important that we are good stewards of this precious gift, which means learning how to properly care for and present our bodies in a way that honors the Maker.

2. God designed boys and girls differently, and for unique purposes. The soft curves of the female body are meant to be attractive to boys. 

3. Because God designed boys to be visually intoxicated by girls, it is important that a girl keep certain parts of her body covered. Those parts of her body--her breasts, her belly, her bottom, and her upper thighs--are secrets meant to be saved for her husband.

4. It is possible to dress in a way that is cute, fun, and attractive without exposing those secret places.

5. Ultimately, the way my daughter dresses should draw attention to who she is, not how her body is built, and should bring glory to the Creator of her body--God. 

Before we left for our day together, we discussed these points. Then we talked about some easy shopping rules to help determine whether an article of clothing received an A (acceptable) or an F (fail).

The Tummy Test: When I raise my hands all the way up in the air, does my tummy show? If so, is it the shirt or the pants that are the problem? An easy remedy to this is to layer a long cami or tank top under the shirt.

The Sweat Test: If I were to get sweaty, would my shirt stick to me like a second skin? If so, the shirt it too tight. Get the next size up.

The Booty Test: When I bend over and touch my knees, can you see the outline of my underwear? Do I feel like I need to pull up my pants? If so, the pants are too tight, or are too low on the waist. An easy remedy for too-tight pants is just to try the next size.

The Criss-Cross Test: When I sit Indian-style (criss-cross), can you see a lot of my inner thigh or all the way up to my underwear? If so, the shorts or skirt are too short. Try bermudas, or get a longer skirt.

The Joy Test: Does the look and style of the clothing make me look and feel joyful? Styles that are too dark or too mature for my age get an F on this test.

We went out to lunch. Then we visited several stores, hunting for good bargains and cute, summer clothes. Thanks to the Goodwill and Ross's bargains, and awesome sales at Kohl's and Children's Place, we outfitted Snapper for the summer--including her Easter dress--for $65! Everything she got gets an A grade, and is as cute as can be.

As she got an adorable, new hair cut, we talked again about how true beauty comes from inside. A girl who is confident and humble is beautiful. A girl who has positive relationships with her parents and siblings is beautiful. A girl who puts the needs of other before her own is beautiful. A girl who is living her life to bring honor and glory to God is beautiful. Kindness, generosity, gentleness, joy, loyalty, friendliness, compassion, humility, patience, respectfulness, and faithfulness all contribute to creating a beautiful girl. Without those inner traits, a physically beautiful girl loses much of her beauty.

How thankful I am for my beautiful daughter! Yes, she is physically beautiful. But her beauty goes much deeper than her skin. Her true beauty is found within.

Oh, I am so proud, I just must add that Snapper's relay teams--both Freestyle Relay and Medley Relay--are the new State Champions in their age division! Way to go Snapper, T, C, and A!


Southern Belle said...

What a wonderful day you both were able to share! How neat is that? You described true beauty perfectly.

Stef said...

Emily. This is awesome! Wow. I need to remember these things as we teach Rachel about modesty and true inner beauty.

Loved this post - thank you!

Hofwoman said...

LOVED this too, Emily! Thank you! What a wonderful post, and I am definitely keeping these things in mind to teach to my Phyra someday :)