Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the girl called beautiful

Do you call your daughter (or daughters) beautiful? I find myself doing it a lot with my sweet little Elise. Lately, I've been thinking on the wisdom - or not - of those kinds of compliments. Are they fine in moderation? Do they take a girl's focus away from the kind of beauty God values? Or is it a healthy boost (especially in our society) for a girl's self-image, to be called such things?

And, she is beautiful. I mean, really. I could (possibly) be a tad biased, but I think even the most uninterested observer would admit that she is a stunner. I know: all babies are gorgeous. But this little one is mine.

Well...you know. In the sense that God has lent her to me for a season.

As much as any of my children belong to me, she's mine...and she takes my breath away.

But how often can I tell her? Is it even wise to tell her? If I call her "Beautiful" every morning when she wakes up, will she end up thinking that's her most valuable characteristic? Or, is a balance what's important: noticing her strengths, her kindness, her skills, as well as commenting when she looks especially lovely?

I don't remember hearing those "appearance" kinds of compliments as a child. Maybe they were there, maybe not. But for whatever reason, I don't have many memories of that kind of thing. And, well...maybe it would have been a good thing, you know?

You may wonder when I'll be getting to my point, but the truth is, I don't have one. I am just mulling it over, trying to figure out what's best.

And I wonder... What do you think about this subject? Do you tell your daughter that she's beautiful?

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


Erica said...

I absolutely support telling little girls that they are beautiful. I think that it is important to be recognized as beautiful - both for their inner and outer beauty - from their parents (especially daddys) before they begin to hear it from boys/young men. From my experiences, the young ladies who hear it from those that truly love them crave hearing it from others less than those that rarely or never hear it. Of course, it's important to teach them that their outer beauty should not be more important that their inner beauty, but I think that reflecting what God thinks when he looks at them is also important. I'm sure that when God looks at your sweet little girl he thinks she is just as lovely and beautiful as you think she is. :)

Mel's Goin Goin Gone said...

Yes, I do, because like you, she IS to me :) I do worry about it mostly because she DOES draw attention everywhere we go. I worry about what others might say to her or do to her because of her "beauty" more than anything. I think it is good to hear that you are beautiful. That your parents adore you. God adores us. He thinks we are beautiful, even though we are a beautiful mess. It is not the only thing about my girl that I focus on, so I think she will be well rounded. She's a girl. She wants to feel beautiful, even at 5. She likes pretty things, she thinks her dolls are beautiful and many other things as well. I also tell her she has a beautiful heart. I don't want to fall into the new age nonsense of making all kids feel equal, I think that is a HUGE disservice our society is doing right now. But I will encourage them and help them feel good about themselves, w/o lying to them. The real world is going to beat them down, we need to be their safe and soft place to fall. And that includes letting them know we think they are beautiful people!

Kristin said...

Yes, I call my daughters beautiful, but I also compliment them on other things. When Maddie is kind to one of her brothers or generous to a friend or does her school work neatly...or whatever...I'm sure to tell her that, too.

Ami said...

Like the other commenters and you, I do tell "Scotch" that she's beautiful. :) The reasons already stated are the reasons I do, so I won't go into more of that. I agree though, it is imperative that children (both boys and girls) know that true beauty is nothing to do with appearance, and that is something that we strive to instill in our children. Both are complimented on strengths, skills, acts of kindness, etc. as well as physical beauty.

At a teacher in-service before the school year, one of the presenters made a point of reminding us to not call our students "smart," but to compliment effort and skill growth rather than intelligence. In my mind as a parent, this is a similar situation. So, while I still use the term "beautiful" with my daughter, I also look for those things she does (already) that show signs of inner beauty and encourage good relationships.

Trish said...

I call Gisèle beautiful all the time, but it's mostly in the nickname kind of way - "Good morning, Beautiful!" Jamie and I both compliment her on her looks, telling her that she looks nice, etc., but I think we compliment her on other things even more often. We make a point of complimenting her for being nice, a good big sister, a great helper, smart, polite, etc. I think it's a good balance.

Deb said...

Yep... all 3 of them - all the time. :-)But Scott and I are lucky because they are also sweeet, talented, kind, funny, creative, and all around lovely kids so we have a lot of adjectives to choose from!! Maybe it has something to do with those Isom genes since you have expressed the same feelings? :-)