Monday, March 5, 2012

She Thinks She's Ugly

Norman Rockwell's classic 1954 "Girl in the Mirror" painting poignantly reflects the age-old, often unspoken question that young women have been asking forever. 

"Will I ever be beautiful?"

Truth be told, most of us have gone through an awkward phase ... or two.  {Dare I remember the protruding teeth, thick eyebrows, bushy hairdo, and pale blue cat-eye eyeglasses of my youth?  PLEASE!  HIDE THE PICTURES!} 

But the gentle affirmations of those who truly cared about our wellbeing got us through those graceless years.  We began to understand that Jesus loved us, and maybe, just maybe, we had something of value to offer.  The scars of poor self-esteem began to fade.  And most of us came out the other end feeling at least marginally good about ourselves. 

But the insidious presence of the internet has changed all that.  Young girls are going online and asking the same old questions of complete strangers.  And the results of their desperate search for affirmation and some sense of self-worth are often devastating.

What's a parent to do?
Focus on the Family says it best.

Build Character.  Build Walls.

Both steps are absolutely vital.  Read every detail.

Dads and moms - your continued affirmation of the "fruit of the Spirit" in the lives of your children is an absolute non-negotiable {Galatians 5:22-23}.  When you see evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control in your child's talk or walk, please affirm those Christ-honoring characteristics.  Quickly.  Often.  And with great pleasure and enthusiasm. 

Yes, let's tell our kids that they're pretty, handsome, smart, talented.  If we don't, be sure that they will begin to look for someone who will.

But there's a healthy, biblical balance in affirming what's on the outside even as we emphasize the importance of vibrant, spiritual growth.  If we truly believe God's words when He said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" {1 Samuel 16:7}, we're going to want to put a much greater emphasis on the development of God's work in their souls.  Let's nurture and encourage those redeeming qualities above all else. 

And teachers, coaches, relatives, friends ... let's all get on board in building up those precious young people in our lives! 



  1. Because you share from your heart, Linda, we are presenting you with a Genuine Blogger Award. Great job! You can pick up your award at Longings End. God bless you!

  2. I thank you for your very sweet surprise, Sheila!

  3. I think it is SO important that we are the best cheerleaders of our children's strengths and telling them how delighted we are in who God has created them to be! Thanks for sharing this.

  4. If we don't cheer them on, there's a good chance that someone not of our choosing will be the one who they turn to for strokes, kudos, and approval.

    That's a scary enough thought to motivate even the most unresponsive parent out there.

    Thanks for weighing in, Kate!

  5. What a great reminder that our kids need us to build them up. It's so easy to overlook that need. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. It can be oh-so-hard to offer those words of affirmation as they get older - when they are unpleasant, disrespectful, step away from the values we prize, or make choices that we think are foolish.

    For every "no" we have to say, how many "yeses" can we offer? For every gentle correction that we give, how many "you go girl!" cheers can come authentically from our hearts?

    This isn't easy!

    Thanks for stopping by, Lori!

  7. Good insight. Raising children is tough, so we've got to rely on the ultimate Father for guidance.

  8. Yes - raising kids is a tough marathon! It was the hardest, yet the most rewarding work I've ever done ... Trust me, hang in there, it's worth every minute! My adult daughters give me great joy and I am now honored to call them my friends.

    Thanks, Jelli!


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