I really strive to be a good father for my two daughters. My wife and I make every effort to reinforce to them that it's more important to be beautiful on the inside rather than the outside. We want them to grow into strong, smart, independent, spiritually-centered women who don't define their worth through their looks.
We strive to give them unsolicited hugs, unconditional affection and affirmation for no other reason than we love them and we're blessed that God has gifted us with them.
We want them to be complete individuals who won't need validation from "mean girls" or "hormone-charged boys" which is one of the reasons I take weekly karate classes with our two young ladies.
Despite all that, the other night I heard our youngest ask her sister if the shirt she was wearing, "made her look fat." It broke my heart to hear those words discussed by a 7-and-9 year old respectively. I calmly entered the room and gave them each a hug.
Then I rhetorically asked where they heard that kind of talk because we try to closely monitor that type of negative image nonsense from entering our home via any media outlet. I then reminded both of them that they were smart, funny, kind girls with hearts after God, that I wanted to spend all my time with.
I went on to say that none of those good things I just listed had anything to do with how they appeared, but I did reinforce the importance of them being beautiful on the inside because that will make them more beautiful on the outside.
They both nodded their heads and hugged me and went off to play with their Zoobles.
I'm sure that little exchange affected me more than them, but we as parents have to be vigilante against the incessant barrage of images and messaging that our kiddos see and internalize.
I've read several excellent books about the crucial role that fathers play in the development of their daughters. I know my opinion matters to them now, but I want to ensure it stays that way once their peer groups and the culture start competing with me.
Unfortunately, according to this article on Huffington Post by Lisa Bloom that competition for the hearts, minds and bodies of our daughters begins as early as the age of three.
How To Talk to Little Girls
It's a never ending battle that we as parents have to fight on behalf of our kids - but especially our daughters.
What successes have you had in this regard for your girls?