Can We Teach Beauty to Our Children?
Last fall, I was at a high school volleyball tournament, watching my daughter play with her varsity team. She has the privilege to play on a homeschool high school team (which thankfully wears a bit more modest uniforms than most). During a tournament, her team has to play several schools each day. As they began warming up to play their mid-morning game, the other team arrived.
And I saw her.
The captain of this team was strikingly beautiful. (Yes, women notice these things.) She was tall, with an athletic build. She had long, blond hair, pulled back into a pony tail. No frizzy hair for her. It was silky and straight. Her complexion appeared flawless, which is rare for a teenager. She moved around the court with speed and agility, directing her obviously less-experienced team players on where they should be standing and how they should be warming up.
I overheard that she was the only senior on their team; several seniors having graduated the previous year, leaving a young and less-skilled team for her to lead.
And you could tell she was a bit frustrated with that.
As the game began, she started yelling to her teammates about their incorrect plays and their mistakes. She started to get angry as point after point was lost….Then it happened…
She began mouthing frustrated curse words. She screamed at her players. She kept criticizing them, rolling her eyes when they made an error.
And I noticed something strange…
She wasn’t so pretty anymore. In fact, my perception of her drastically changed. I was hurting for her as she ranted and raged across the court with every losing point. Her countenance was not pretty, and despite the fact that she had not changed in appearance, I could not see her beauty anymore.
It really was interesting. I know that beauty has more to do with what is inside, rather than outside, but this was the first time I saw it in such a vivid example.
Scripture tells us that beauty comes from within, but never had I experienced such an alteration in appearance before. This is important for all of us to understand. I want my daughter and sons to realize this, too. When they have a joy from their heart, it visibly is evident in their countenance. And that affects their beauty.
Have you ever been around an elderly person who has a love for the Lord and joy that bubbles up from inside them? You just want to be around them. They have a welcoming spirit, and you can’t help but smile to be around them. You are drawn to them.
We need to be encouraging our children with this. We need to show them examples of those around us who have the inner beauty that spills over into their outer beauty. Children need to see examples of this, because they are being bombarded with the wrong information that the media throws at them.
If we make a point to stress this truth in their lives, they will not fall into the world’s telling our girls that they have to look a certain way to be pretty and accepted; telling our boys that they need to marry a woman with physical beauty over any other characteristics.
They will not lose satisfaction with themselves or their spouses as they age. They will not feel the pressure of having to do the trendy body-shaping or face-altering procedures just so they will be accepted.
It’s OK to tell our daughters they are pretty. But teach them how to be BEAUTIFUL! Stress and affirm the more important things: their lovely hearts. Let them know how beautiful it was when they shared with their siblings. When you see them praying for someone else, make a point to say that it is a beautiful thing to see them show care and concern.
USE THE WORD “beautiful” as you talk to them. But call the correct attributes “beautiful.” Show your sons examples of women around you who have that beauty and help them to see how a countenance affects one's appearance.
You will be filling them up with the truth that a gentle spirit and a godly heart are something that will be eternally lovely!