So today at the gym there was this really beautiful baby, apparently she was the daughter or niece of one of the trainers there, and she kept moving from hand to hand, and it wasn’t only her cute face, big green eyes or lush black her, I realized as I passed by her on my way out that it was the way she smiled back at anyone who smiled at her, with such excitement and happiness as if she couldn’t believe someone is actually smiling at her, although everyone did and so much more. Actually, if smiles were earthquake this would be 7 or 8 at least on Richter’s scale.
But then my thoughts took another direction. Seeing such a beautiful baby, I thought of the women I know who, while pregnant with girls, prayed to God that they would be beautiful, and the insensitive comments from those around them when the girls didn’t turn out as beautiful as they hoped. Actually there’s an old joke people say when a baby girl is not considered beautiful enough, or even ugly (although I don’t believe there are ugly kids), and that is her parents should save money so that when she grows up they would pay it to a man in order to marry her. So, I asked myself: Why is it important for a parent to have beautiful girls?
First, let me say this: As a parent, your main concern should not be to have a beautiful girl whose looks would make people swoon whenever she walked by, or land a rich husband at an early age later in her life. As a parent, your main concern should be to raise your daughter to be strong enough to face this world and this society where being a woman is a challenge in itself. Your duty as a parent is to teach your girl that her looks will only take her so far; because it’s something she didn’t earn but rather inherited, a privilege with which she was endowed with no effort on her part. Your job is help her build up her self-confidence independently from how she looks, to teach her how to be deserving of admiration and respect because of what she’s like, not what she looks like.
As a parent, your main concern must be protecting your daughter, and part of that is understanding and making her understand that beauty often attracts the wrong kind of men, and to make sure she knows she’s not a doll or a Barbie, and that she doesn’t have to look like one for anyone’s satisfaction, because a real man wouldn’t compare her to some plastic-looking singer on TV or some anorexic cover girl, that a real man would see through to her real beauty before seeing the skin-deep one, and that her image in his eyes would actually be a reflection of her soul.
As I write this I can’t help but remember a small funny incident. A few months back my little niece, Jana, came to me while I was working and started blabbering – or continued blabbering as she lives in a constant state of blabbering- then she paused for a moment, and then said with a look I still don’t quite understand: “I’m the prettiest girl in the world”. I’m not sure what put it in her head, all I know is that once she said that my job as her aunt and her parents’ job is to make sure she keeps on believing that she is the most beautiful girl in the world, perhaps not in the sense she meant as a 3 year-old, but in a rather in a different way, one that is not related to anything she can see in a mirror.