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How to teach what “being beautiful” looks like

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Teach your daughter what being beautiful is all about

Our culture emphasizes outward beauty, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The question is: How do we teach this to our girls?

“Do I look beautiful, Mommy?” My three-year-old daughter gazes up at me with big brow eyes, eagerly anticipating my response. She looks beautiful to me. But is that what really matters to her? To her heart?

“You do look beautiful today, honey.” I pull her into a squeeze. “But your joy on the inside is especially sparkly this morning—and what’s in your heart is the most beautiful part.”

I love what 1 Peter 3:3-4 says about this:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment . . . instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Because we live in a world obsessed with physical appearance, it’s important to teach children this concept at an early age.

In Beauty and the Best, author Debra Evans writes:

“In Scriptures, physical beauty is never used as a metaphor for goodness or counted as any kind of moral virtue. In spite of the fairy tales that abound in our culture, beauty has no magical power to make bad people good.”

Parenting expert Mary Manz Simon, Ed.D, agrees.

We may tell our child, ‘Oh, you look so nice,’ and that’s certainly appropriate, but we need to make sure we balance that by also focusing on our child’s God-given gifts and talents.

How to teach what “being beautiful” looks like:

  • Observe which two or three character traits your daughter has naturally, such as honesty or patience, then reinforce those. “Be very specific with your praise so your child knows exactly what action should be repeated to have her inner beauty shine,” Dr. Simon says.
  • Consider significant goals you have for your daughter. Do you believe your child can be a great scientist or musician? Let her know. Chances are, looking pretty in a mirror isn’t on that list.
  • Catch her “being beautiful.” Though my preschooler still seeks affirmation about her appearance, she also thrives on compliments about her gentleness, her creativity, and her generosity. As I watched my daughter offer a hand-drawn picture to a friend, I noticed a sparkle of joy in her eyes. It was true beauty . . . and I told her so.

More tips:

  • Give your daughter a sense of identity. Tell her she is a special creation designed by God. Just as God made her different from everyone else on the outside, He also made her unique on the inside.
  • Take your child to the mirror and show her the loveliness of her smile and the brightness of her eyes. Tell her this is inner beauty coming out.
  • When your child displays a good attitude and godly character qualities, be sure to mention them. When she seeks a compliment about her physical appearance, also point out inner qualities.
  • Pray with your child each day, specifically asking God to help her love others in beautiful ways.
  • When you read stories to your child, discuss the inner qualities of the characters—both positive and negative. Point out we can’t judge people’s hearts by their outward appearances. For example, Snow White’s stepmother, though beautiful, was wicked. When you read Bible stories, talk about inner strengths—the obedience of Noah, the faithfulness of Daniel, the courage of Esther, and so on.
  • When another child (or your own child) misbehaves, privately talk to your child about the unsightliness of disobedience. Focus on the wrong actions, not on the person. Ask your child to think of ways not to exhibit such behavior.
  • Sponsor or pray for children in other countries. Point out to your child that even though other people may look different on the outside, we all are God’s special creations.

How about you? How do you teach your daughter what true beauty looks like?

Beauty for Ashes 2016 speaker, Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of ten, grandmother of two, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published more than fifty books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com.

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