What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.
A poor farmer who is among the "Sarum bunch," a crowd which assembles near the town jail the night before Tom's trial in order to start a lynching. He is deeply moved by Scout's friendly words when she tries to diffuse the situation, and as a result leads the rest of the men in going home. Ever after, he respects the Finch family greatly.
When my now 22 year-old daughter asked, at the age of 5, what a “diet” was I told her it was the food we eat to keep our bodies healthy and to keep it running so we had enough energy to do what we wanted. I then proceeded to tell the director of the preschool she attended to instruct the college students who volunteered to NOT discuss their diets and body issues in front of the children.
This is so true too. It troubles me that in society today people think intelligence and success are what we need to value. Not everyone has a high iq, not everyone has the capability to be super successful. What everyone does have the capability to do is develop a strong character. Anyone, even someone with a learning disorder, someone with down syndrome, etc, is capable of having a strong character. It is character traits- kindness, love, acceptance, compassion, that should be the top of our list of what we should encourage our youth to have…not “intelligence” or “good looks.” I know i beat myself up a lot because I get stressed with only a few things on my plate, and i compare myself to others, people like CEOs who have a billion things on their plate at all times and seem to be fine.
I never talked about my weight in front of my children. I served healthy foods, did not deny snacks or make food a reward. They both are now 21 and 22 years of age and do not obsess about diet and/or food. They both know what they should eat–and not. They do not obsess about their weight, they exercise and take care of themselves. And, yes, they do eat fast-food when they want– but not to excess.
I think the author has a great idea, but is over-thinking it a little bit. There is nothing wrong with, when meeting a child, complimenting something physical about them because at that moment, that is all you know about them…what you can see. However, I do think it is very important to not just stop there. Get to know them on an intellectual level too. We are a visual society, so to say “Wow, what a cute dress you have on” isn’t a bad thing. But, follow up with an interest in what the child enjoys (books, hobbies, etc). There is nothing wrong with a balance of both.
Personally, I believe that we should greet little girls with warmth and love. Ask them how their day is going, what they like to do. Paying them a compliment isn’t detrimental as long as your interactions with them are not ALWAYS based on that topic. I also believe we should give the most praise for demonstrations of good character, with particular attention to selfless acts and strengths.
If a woman is beautiful, she will likely do all she can to be seen as such because it gives her power (as is described by the author) however, the same can be said about intelligence, wealth, etc. these things are not good or bad on their own, but we need to be careful. Over valuing any of these will give a person a skewed sense of where their worth comes from (i.e. I am only valuable when I am pretty, intelligent…insert other adjectives here).
I appreciated your article and wholeheartedly agree. Here is where I struggle and why I intentionally point out ALL traits I see in the young girls (and young boys) I work with as a school counselor…no one, not even my parents, said that I was pretty. My mother always said “pretty is as pretty does” and then she never complimented me…so I felt I never did anything right either. I didn’t feel exceptionally smart or talented, just good at doing the laundry. Now as an adult woman I struggle with self esteem, facial and body image. I truly believe if just one significant person in my life had told me I was beautiful I wouldn’t seek it in unhealthy ways. I tell students they are dressed nicely for school, I get excited when I hear them reading, I point out how glad I am to see them because they make me smile and I do all of this to fat, skinny, homely, beautiful, intelligent, special ed and struggling students. I believe EACH child is beautiful and they need to know it… not the beauty that the world holds but the beauty that they each hold. We can always find ONE good thing about a kid and make sure to tell them out loud, so others hear it! I also believe modeling appropriate work attire, coming to work with my hair done and ready to hit the ground running are good examples to students. There are days I wear no makeup and no jewelry…kids see me as less put together these days. I just tell them that I wanted to look more simple today but I’m still here to work for them…they accept that. The messages that we give children are so powerful and we are powerful force for good when we empower them to see the beauty inside of themselves and not look for approval from the world. I wish someone had done that for me!
As a parent I think it’s important to acknowledge their overall beauty period. “Hey gorgeous, so, what you working on? Wow, your LEGO/drawing/singing/math is excellent you keep up the great work”. Children need validation in every respect, when you focus on one at the expense of another I think that is what creates imbalance. I’ve met many older women at college age who because they were NOT told they were beautiful think they’re ONLY brains and no beauty. Beauty and support of every facet of your children and the children of your community is what promotes positive self-image of themselves in every capacity.
There is nothing wrong with telling a girl how great she looks or how lovely or cute her dress is. Maybe, if more girls heard that, they would have more confidence in themselves. Maybe, the more you hear it, the more you believe it. We’ll be tested our whole life on how smart we are, or if we can keep up with men! Why can’t you talk to a girl about taking care of herself, her beauty, and her brains? Why does it need to be one or the other? The reason why “smart” women want to be beautiful is because someone talked them about the importance of being smart but forgot to instill confidence in them about their looks. Help their confidence at an early age and maybe they won’t have eating disorders. We can teach girls to read and think as well as excersize and take care of themselves!
It’s a constant struggle, fighting gender types. I too will do what I can. Not despite being a man, but because of it. Thanks for this post. Keep fighting the good fight.