Mirror, Mirror on the Wall! Who’s the fairest of them all?
From a very young age, children are taught the importance of outer beauty. If you look up the definition of “fairest”, you will find many different meanings, one of them being “beautiful, attractive”. Of course, this is what the witch was wanting to know in the animated film Snow White; Was she the most beautiful?
Why is it that things like being funny, kind or smart isn’t what we portray as being important to children?
When a baby is brought into this world, what is the first thing they hear from everyone they meet? Usually it is something along the lines of “What a beautiful baby” or “He/She is so gorgeous”. This verbiage continues throughout their life, until they enter the awkward stage that most children go through or a younger, cuter sibling comes along (aka baby).
Does this scenario sound familiar? A parent has two children in the grocery store, a stranger approaches and quickly goes to the baby in the cart. The gushing begins about how sweet and beautiful the youngest is while never acknowledging the older sibling. It is just one more way a child is shown in a round about way the importance beauty plays in being accepted.
The struggle between outer beauty vs. inner beauty is nothing new for youth. However, it is the cause of many feelings of inferiority and low self esteem among children of all ages. Even the most beautiful strive for perfection to reap the reward of acceptance from their peers. It is a dangerous game that never ends with a clear winner.
It is obvious that this is not a battle that can be fought and won overnight. The truth is that aspiring to be beautiful doesn’t end at any age, it’s usually just the opposite. The older we get, the harder we fight against the inevitable.
Working at being your best, whether on the outside or inside is not an issue. The problem begins when we as parents forget to set out the guidelines for what the best is for our children.
With bullying being at an all time high, both in and out of school, it’s time that we as parents remind our children that true beauty comes from within.
Acceptance and love is the most beautiful gift one can give. It’s never too late to be an example for change.