“Come on, pretty girl, time to get dressed for school!” The words were barely out of my mouth before I felt a rush of guilt, but why? She is a pretty girl. I didn’t say anything out of line, like “perfect girl” or “prettiest girl”, just “pretty girl”. So why did I feel so guilty?
The fact is that, in the tumult to focus on more than our physical bodies, there is a creeping of underlying shame coming through. “Don’t tell them they are pretty, tell them they are smart.” She is smart, and strong, and hysterically funny. She is also pretty.
I understand that there are so many things that are more important than our looks, you have only to look at me to see that I will never look like a model, but I am funny, smart, and caring… perhaps a bit too caring at times, but that is another story for another day. I also have hated my face for as long as I have known it, and that has caused serious problems in my life. I have therefore, made it a point to make sure my children know they are beautiful. Both aesthetically and otherwise. Part of that is to teach them to be good people, but part of it is also to say “Come on, pretty girl, time to get dressed for school!” once in a while.
Krishna does kung fu, and when Arienette gets a bit older, maybe she will want to as well. I always encourage my girls to do what makes them happy, and I tell them they can be whatever hey want as long as they are happy and nobody is getting hurt. I teach them to be kind, even to the mean kids, because you never know what someone is going through at home. I encourage them to climb trees, and play in the dirt, swim and ride bikes, be artistic, help in the garden and so much more. If I also call them “pretty”, or “beautiful”, I do not believe that is wrong. I refuse to feel guilty for telling them they are pretty.