As a mother of a beautiful daughter it is my responsibility to speak truth to her and to help nurture and build her self-esteem. This means I in turn also have to build my own self- esteem and be sure to not speak any negative things about myself in front of my daughter. I refuse to ever look in a mirror and call myself fat— even on the days when I feel like a whale. Why? Because I don’t want my daughter to overhear that and think that her worth and beauty are ever defined by her outward appearance. The outside world will soon enough tell her otherwise, but by the time that happens I hope that our work inside the home will have a firm foundation that will not be easily shaken by the things and people of this world.
My child dresses herself (and usually doesn’t match) and sometimes refuses to brush her hair because she likes messy hair. Yes, I let her leave the house looking like a hot mess. The reason? One day soon enough she won’t leave the house because her clothes won’t be what the “ cool kids” are wearing and one day she will refuse to leave the house with messy hair and that will be the start of “bad hair days.” I look forward to those days. I look forward to them because they will be teachable moments. They will be moments I can use to remind her of who she really is and where her beauty and worth come from.
I am sitting here writing this after I received a text message from a dear friend that read, “It’s always a good start to my day when my mom calls me fat.” When did it ever become okay for us to tell our children they are fat!?!?! It is absolutely unacceptable. We are suppose to be a safe place for our children to land. A place they come to for truth and reassurance. A place to be reminded that what the world has to say about us and our bodies doesn’t matter. I am blown away. I am enraged. I think about my friend who by the way is the most beautiful person I have ever known and is not overweight by any means, but mostly I think about my daughter. I think about my daughter because I can’t imagine being a mother who speaks those words or any hurtful words that tear my child down. Our words have a profound effect on our children.
We have a little conversation that happens anytime we are going to play with our friends whether they are new friends or old friends. I adopted this from my dear friend because I love the simple reminder that it teaches our children.The conversation goes like this:
Me: Okay love, look at my eyeballs (so I know that she is listening)– what is the most important thing?
Emma: That we love each other mommy!
Me: And how do we do that honey?
Emma: We use kind hands and kind words.
I love the simplicity of the conversation, but mostly I love that it teaches my daughter to be mindful with her words and her hands because they have just as much impact in a persons life as mine and my husbands words have on her. It also teaches my daughter the importance of being kind and loving to herself. We’ve all heard the saying, “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” If my daughter can learn that if she wants to be treated kindly and loved well she has to treat others that same way, oh what a difference that will make.
She is a beautiful soul and her love for life is contagious. She radiates beauty inside and out and I am quick to remind her of that daily.
I have had several important people in my life who have been torn down and belittled by the most important people in their lives– their parents. And the problem is not just with our daughters but with our sons as well. Their self confidence and self love are just as important as our daughters. And I for one refuse to ever belittle or tear down my children. They are perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t want them any other way. I will love my children regardless of what they look like, who they become and the choices they make. I will be one to remind them of their beauty and worth and where that truly comes from, because after all they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
So let’s start loving one another and using kind words to build our children up so that they in turn can be individuals who use their words to build others up. Let’s learn to love ourselves and let that self love radiate onto others. And for those of you with kiddos whether they be itty bitty or full grown– start speaking kindly to them. Let your voice echo truth when others try to drown them in the lies.