You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. – Song of Solomon 4:7-
Hey there Dolls,
So last week was a crazy, busy and eventful one for the Tafoya household. In the midst of it all the LORD revealed to me just how important my actions and words were in my children’s lives. This time He was speaking to me on the level of self esteem and how so often I will make a complaint about my self in front of my children. Not even realizing, that I am tearing down their image of themselves by simply doing so.
Without it being our intention, we mothers will often display for our daughters our own insecurities and the way we ourselves succumb to ridiculous standards of beauty. By doing this, we pass down our self-loathing to them, and “we consciously or unconsciously systematically campaign for their adoption of unhealthy physical obsessions.” With constant talks of dieting, and weight loss and mentions of how we feel fat or ugly. Nonchalantly judging other women and jumping on the bandwagon and buying magazines that pit women against each other, like the Who Wore It Best competitions. We focus on what’s unnatural, and disavow them from what is.
These are things, that without notice, they will carry with them into adulthood. Our focus shouldn’t be so much on the world and what our identity is in it, rather who we are in CHRIST and how he loves us so.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. -1 peter 3:3-4-
When we keep our focus on our worldly beauty and not our inner Christ like beauty we run into horrible things such as these…
Huffington Post reports that most women are spending “30-40% of every day thinking about body image, and 46% of them said they focused on it because their mothers did. And they resent their mothers for this.”
According to a Wall Street Journal report, one study found 80% of ten-year-old girls had already dieted to lose weight, and another found that girls as young as five have a preoccupation with body image. It also stated that anorexia and bulimia are on the rise.
The NYU Child Study Center indicated the average American girl’s self esteem peeks at age nine and then plummets.
9 yrs old and low self-esteem is already plummeting. My heart breaks at the thought of it and reminds me that I have a 7 1/2 year old on her way to the “self esteem war”. How pivotal it is for me to turn her focus to a healthy spiritual growth and way of life and away from the status quo of todays world.
In “Have a new kid by Friday” Dr. Leman writes:
“These days, parents are overly concerned with their child’s self-esteem. ‘I want Johnny to feel good about himself,’ a mother says. So what does a mother do? She goes out of her way to clear life’s roads for her child, to do things for him that he should be doing for himself.
She thinks she’s helping him with his self-esteem, but what she is she really doing? She’s sending a negative message: ‘I think you’re so stupid that you can’t do it yourself, so I’ll do it for you.'”
The way a mother eagle teaches her eaglets to fly is an excellent example of how guiding (without over-controlling) helps kids mature and develop healthy self-esteem.
When a mother eagle wants her baby to fly, she waits until her eaglet is 80% of his adult size. Then she sets him on the edge of the nest and pushes him off into the wild blue. She watches her baby bird freefall, then swoops down just in time to catch him on her wings. This exercise is repeated over and over until the baby eaglet learns to fly.
By doing this, her baby’s confidence (and self-esteem, if eagles had such a thing) grows. Imagine if she was overly protective. Her eaglet would never learn to fly; he’d never mature.
In the same way, kids mature and develop a healthy self-esteem by experiencing life first hand, even if it means that sometimes they make mistakes.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. –Proverbs 31:30-
1.CHOOSE YOUR WORDS
Mothers, sisters, daughters and friends have immense influence over the younger girls around them and words are powerful. Think twice about commenting on somebody’s appearance, whether in a positive or negative way. Negative comments invite young girls to create an unhealthy sense of beauty.
2.BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Build a strong foundation. From her first breath, remind your daughter on a daily basis, through words and action, that she is strong, smart and beautiful. Research confirms that girls with low self-esteem most commonly receive less praise and more criticism from either parent.
2.DADS YOUR WORDS ARE HUGE
Dad, your words are huge! The way a father expresses his value and respect for women directly impacts the way his daughter sees herself and the degree of respect and overall value she will expect to receive from boys and men.
3. MOM YOU ARE THEIR BIGGEST ROLE MODELS
Mom, never forget that you are her most important role model. More than half of girls recently surveyed as part of a national report on self-esteem said their mothers criticize their own appearance. It is imperative that we do whatever is necessary to get ourselves to a place of knowing and understanding our value as women, if we have any hope that our daughters will do the same.
4.HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF
Mothers are the first line of defense against unrealistic images and suggestive advertising. Young children will emulate their mothers, but they will not filter the “bad” behavior. This includes making negative comments about your own weight or appearance or casually mentioning that you feel insecure about a particular body part. Write on your mirrors “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” Isaiah 43:4a remind your daughters of this often.
5. BE A FANATIC
From a very early age, girls want someone to love them, to recognize their beauty and to treat them like a princess. You have an opportunity to be a young lady’s biggest fan by encouraging them, recognizing their beauty and helping them discover their gifts and talents. Make an effort every day to tell your daughters that they are beautiful and to look at them with loving, rather than critical, eyes. When the world tells her she is inadequate, a reliable and genuinely devoted woman needs to show her she is perfect, just the way she is.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” PSALM 139:13-14
Lets vow to let the light of Christ shine in us so bright that it blots out all worldly influences, walking out a life for our daughters and sons, that they will one day lead them selves.
Until next week