Monday, April 23, 2012

What Does She See?

As the second birthday of our first born daughter approaches the thoughts of raising her swarm my mind. How to nurture her, equip her, and encourage her, all the while allowing her to become herself. I think about this a lot actually. Of course I think about raising sons too, but right now I'm thinking about her.

Our dress wearing dirt dobber with a big personality and sense of humor. Tender and independent. Strong willed (a good thing) and affectionate. So many more words to describe her, she truly is something to behold. Sandwiched in between all these boys, our little girl is that and more. Amazing.

On the way to take the oldest to school and back I listen to a little radio. Today they were discussing raising daughters. This particular show was focused on the fathers influence, which I recognize greatly impacts a child, and especially a daughter. However, as a mother I want to share a few of my own thoughts that have come up lately. If a father influences what kind qualities a woman looks for in a man, a mother influences what kind of qualities a woman looks for in herself.

With our culture becoming ever so infatuated with image, I have been thinking a lot about how our little girl will see herself. Hearing the youth today talk about their own image has made me aware of my own perceptions, and as it were perceptions. Talking about body image is a long enough discussion, but I just want to point out one thing. Our daughters will view themselves not as we view them, but as we view ourselves. In other words, they will learn how to view themselves by observing the way we view ourselves. Just like with everything else a child does, they learn more by modeling than by instruction. The world creates a fairtale. Pretty pictures on a magazine, a dream on a movie screen, and a likeness for sale in a store. We've even discussed this with the oldest. The images you see are all advertisements. They want something from you, not something for you.

So with all that in mind, I'm taking a closer look at how I view myself. How I glance in the mirror or small comments I make. I've had a difficult time adjusting to my new mommy body. Who hasn't? And I've verbalized that. To my husband mostly. And that's what started this train of thought. If I say those things enough to him, he may start to see it and believe it too. So in turn, what will my daughter think of herself when she looks in the mirror? Of course she is beautiful. We want her to know that. But we want her to see it too. We want her to see that beauty is much more than appearance.

Top: Her little black tips at the ends of her long fine hair are what she started out in this world with.
Bottom: That personality.


  1. We were blown away Saturday as we sat at the Breakfast table and Haddie began to sing the song, "Down By the Bay...where the watermellons grow..."!
    She has only spoken in short sentences (3 words, maybe) and then she could sing every line of this song!!! Boy did I wish the video camera was running! It was priceless!

    1. :) I wish I could capture it all on film.

  2. Well put, Meg! This reminds me of an article I read recently which talked about how we should speak to little girls (mainly to adults who don't really know what to say to little girls!). It caught my attention since I know a few and the only things I ever want to say are, "you are so pretty" or "i love your little dress." I had never thought of the impact this has (and I'm sure did on me as well) by emphasizing how important ones looks are. The writer suggested next time you are in a situation to speak to a little girl to ask her what books she's been reading or what she learned in school that day, etc. Great advice!

    1. I remember you telling me about that Erin! And I had that in mind too when writing this. I've just been thinking a lot about how she will grow up to view herself and the world isn't doing a very good job presently at building up young women with a healthy self image. If you find that article again please share the link with me! I'd love to read it!