Somewhere along the line of having three daughters, I gave up on efforts to have everyone’s hair fixed perfectly before leaving the house. On the list of daily priorities, perfect hair got removed from the top of the list.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t be self-conscious or go through awkward phases of girlhood. Those things are probably unavoidable. But I do want them to be as free as possible from the shackles of feeling like they need to meet some impossible standard of perfection. I want them to appreciate and love the bodies that God gave them as much as possible.
When I heard that author Dannah Gresh was coming to speak at a local university, I made plans with some other moms to take our daughters to hear what she had to say.
Gresh writes and speaks about the topic of body image, modesty, chastity, and helping girls to understand true beauty. When a girl rightly understands these things, hopefully she will be better equipped to ward off pressures she might face to dress or act a certain way.
At the conference, Gresh shed light on the problem of unrealistic role models in the fashion industry. Advertising agencies lie to us about what true beauty is. At one point during the conference, a video showed how an average-looking woman was photo-shopped and turned into a glamorous-looking model. What we see on magazine covers is not real.
Gresh spoke to the girls about how they are masterpieces created by God. It’s an unfortunate reality that many girls are never taught this.
She reminded them that they have intrinsic value, not because of the way they look, but because of their position as daughters of the King (God).
Beauty is not how we look on the outside, or our personalities, but how we live out our identities as daughters of a loving king. Gresh encouraged the girls to look for opportunities to love and serve others, especially other girls who are lonely and sad.
I appreciated having another woman, in this case Dannah Gresh, speak into my girls’ lives about these important topics. I hope that they learned things at the conference that will stay with them.
Here is one thing I learned at the conference that will stay with me:
I learned that I will never be able to convince my daughters that they are priceless masterpieces created by God unless I first believe that about myself and then live it out.
Wow. That’s convicting.
Do I believe that I am a masterpiece created by God? My belief about myself will directly influence my daughters. My girls will get most of their cues about body-image from me—by what I say and how I act.
When I speak about my body, do I say positive things or negative things?
How do I take care of my body? How do I use my body, in work, play, and service to others?
One thing I have done that has been helpful is that I do put on my bathing suit every summer and spend hours playing in the pool with my kids every week. Yes, middle-age is becoming a part of my life as much as anyone else’s. But I want my girls to see me enjoying life and not overly-worrying about my body and how I look. Hopefully I have been a good example in this one area. I still have a long way to go, however.
Our kids will encounter a lot of conflicting messages in our culture. Hopefully we moms will have the courage to believe the truth about ourselves first and then pass on that truth to our girls
Photo Credit: Graphic design by Charity Klicka