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Pretty girls don't say ugly words."

We define people by their appearances. We can't help it. Maybe we're wired that way. It's an easy determination to make, isn't it? It's an easy snap judgment. But is that how you want to be defined?

Last week when I was picking the kids up from daycare, Gabriel told me that his sister had said 'diarrhea.' And their care provider, who all in all is quite wonderful with my children, said, "That's tattling. You don't need to tattle. We took care of that already. I just told Maggie that diarrhea's an ugly word, and pretty girls don't say ugly words."
I think I may have flinched. Ken definitely did when I relayed the exchange to him.
And I haven't said anything to her about it. Partly because I don't want to complain, and nitpick about the little things. And there are always little things when someone else is taking care of your kids when you can't. Because she won't do things just like I would.  All in all, it's a really great place for my kids.

But how do you want to be defined? Does your value depend on how you look? Is that what you want your little girl -- or your little boy, your child -- to value? Her appearance, as evaluated by others? Do you want her to value herself based on things she can't change? Like the impossible standards in the magazines? The angle of her ears, perfectly good ears?

I don't want my daughter to have that voice in her head. That nagging one, that notices the too big nose. The fat, even before there was any there (ah, the blissful ignorance of youth; how I miss that face). The never quite good enough because you don't fit with those faces those bodies those masks in the media. That's not something I want to pass on to her. Or to her brother.

I want her to grow up knowing that it's how she uses her brain. It's the choices she makes. If she's beautiful, it's because she's the most healthy, strong person she can be, because she's  compassionate and kind but not a doormat.

I worry about my little girl. All the time. About how she'll value herself. About whether she'll really know how much she's worth.
I hope she always knows what her worth really is. Because if she does, she'll be pretty. Pretty amazing.

Comments

And she should use whatever words she wants to, as long as it's not either disruptive or hurtful...
wow, I cannot believe that woman said that! you should send this journal her way!