Sam and Sadie both had birthdays recently and while the birthday boy or girl enjoyed their birthdays to the fullest, the non-birthday girl or boy was filled with angst during certain portions of their sibling's special day (when the phone rang, when I brought in the mail, when the presents were given, etc.). There were tears, turned down mouth corners and general sulking.
This is a prime opportunity to teach that all-important lesson that while, yes, they are very special and very loved, the world does not revolve around them and them only. And, that we do not need to always be the center of attention and we must learn to be happy for others, to feel joy because others feel joy.
And that leads me to another issue I must get off my chest.
I would really like to write a letter (and maybe I will) to the Disney Company and all the other companies that make and sell princess paraphernalia. I have a bone to pick with them.
For one, similar to the whole Barbie issue, these princesses (be it dolls, movie characters, what have you) all have perfect skin, perfect hair, tiny little waists and extravagant clothes. What girl, young lady or woman can boast these traits at any point in their lives? It is setting young girls up to be disappointed in themselves because, well, if a girl wants to be loved and adored like a princess, she must look the part. If she doesn't, what is she? Ordinary? That is simply not good enough, but often the reality.
Appearances aside, princesses (at least the commercialization of their characters) always come out on top- adored, spinning and prancing around in a beautiful castle with a handsome prince on their arm with servants, helpers or talking tea pots at their every beck and call. And this will happen during most women's lives at which point? I guess I'm just not there yet.
We are doing a disservice to our daughters if we set them up to believe that the world revolves around them. They will be in for a rude awakening when they enter any form of the real world and discover that as special as they are, they likely will not be the best and greatest at everything they attempt. It's okay that they're not. It's perfectly alright to not be the prettiest or the most popular and to have to work for their successes. And, for their husband's sake, I certainly don't want my girls to enter their marriages under the impression that their husband's sole purpose is to take them dancing and lavish them with fine things.
Who really wants to marry a princess anyway?
Sadie loves princesses and this fact rocks my world. As you can imagine, it is a little difficult for me to handle. I enjoyed dolls and pretend play as a girl, but I played with Cabbage Patch Kids. They were a little different. So, we have conversations about the importance of inner beauty, showing kindness and putting others first. For now, Sadie is, thankfully, mostly intrigued by their pretty dresses (we only have a few of the miniature dolls and have watched none of the movies). I would love to think that this is all the farther their influence will go and we will do our best to ensure just that.
Some of you may think I'm taking this a little too far, that I'm reading too much into a girl's play things, but to me, this is serious business. It's our job, as parents, to help our children build character. Character that values the needs and well-being of others and that puts stock in how a person conducts themselves over how they look or what they have. While some of the 'princess message' has evolved to include helping others, I can't help but wonder why we need all the princess fluff in order to teach that lesson. Our girls are bright enough to learn those lessons without the up-dos, ball gowns and unnatural body proportions.
As girls and women, we do need to feel loved and special. Sometimes I wonder, though, if God originally intended for us to feel this need so acutely. There is a theory that The Fall may have played a role in all of this. After Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and ate of the tree God told them not to eat from, there were consequences for each of their actions. Here is the woman's portion of the punishment (Genesis 3:16, NIV, italics mine)...
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
Pains during childbearing and painful labor. Check.
Now, note that your desire for your husband is considered a punishment. I don't think God was talking about loving your husband and finding him physically desirable- those are blessings, not punishments. I think this has to do with an insatiable need to be adored. Take Valentine's Day for an example. As much as I couldn't ask for a better and more loving husband (seriously), I still find myself sucked into wanting to be lavished with gifts that really mean nothing in and of themselves.
I think this is a character flaw that many of us women have to deal with without getting us started early with the help of the media and the toy conglomerates.
We need to teach our girls and remind ourselves that the only true and perfect love we will receive is God's love. It's His affections that we need to concern ourselves with and, thankfully, He freely gives them. He will never disappoint and He is the only One who has a steady stream of love to fill our bottomless love pits. (Italics mine)
"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." (Psalm 36:5)
"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (Psalm 136:26)
"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jeremiah 31:3)
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39)Pin It