Last night, my daughter and I had a great time playing tourist at our local Target while my husband got some extra hours in. We bought stickers, we tried on hats, we learned about igneous rock in the beauty aisle, and even had snacks at the café. It was a perfect wrap-up to a busy day of science club, history club, and tornado warnings (complete with a drill at our local conservation department!).
When we were brushing our teeth that evening, I burst out, “I love my awesome hair! It’s so pretty and awesome and I love it!” Obviously I was inspired by this video, but my six year old did not know that. Not missing beat, she sang out, even more loudly, “I love my awesome hair! It’s so awesome and it flies in the wind and it keeps my head warm!” Well, even at six, she’s more practical than I am, but you get the idea.
We continued to do this, giggling and naming off other awesome parts of ourselves, and though this wasn’t the first time I did this, I couldn’t help but muse, why hadn’t someone ever done this with me? Why did I grow up hating every single thing about myself—and why did it take me nearly thirty years to start liking who I am, and what I look like?
I’m not blaming anyone. We all grew up with issues, with parents with their own issues from their own experiences as children, and I know my daughter will have hers, too. Everyone does. But we can all take a step in the right direction if we vow today to not tell our kids how to improve themselves—to lose weight, to smile more, to dress better, whatever—and just love them instead the way they are. Could you imagine what a world full of people who grow up not trying to please anyone and accepting, even loving, themselves as they are would be like? The media would go to hell in a hand basket.
Like many girls, I grew up believing that I could make everyone happy if I just did what they all wanted, if I worked hard enough and did everything I could. All I did was end up a very sad, very tired girl. I don’t want that for my daughter. So every chance I get, I tell her how awesome she is.
And when she comments on my bad day, or my bad mood, I tell her not to worry about it. I tell her she can choose to have a good day today, and so far, that’s what she does.