I have written about the topic on these pages before. Beauty is more complicated than I would like for it to be, but it is something that we all have to handle. Parents in particular. I try (and try and try) to ensure The Kidling understands that beauty is, in fact, superfluous. That other things–that all other things–are more important. We praise her for important characteristics: kindness, hard work, ingenuity, generosity, strength, courage. I am so adamant about praising her for commendable behaviors and attributes that it occurred to me last week that I could not recall the last time I had shared glowing words about her appearance.
Well, other than growling, “I love your face!” at her. But we all know that “I love your face” is really a commentary on the fact of her face. I love that she has a face. I love that she is. Always.
Well, almost always.
Knowing that I have likely been remiss in completely excluding flattering words about her physical appearance, I complimented her. But I did it carefully.
“Kidling, I know this isn’t what’s important, but you are a beautiful girl,” I told her. She glowed, and I knew that she knew that beauty is more important to the outside world than I let on. I am going to pretend for a moment that this isn’t a result of my not-infrequent primping.
Or the fact that The Kidling said to me last week (in response to my delay getting ready one morning), “Yeah, Mom. It’s not like your hair has to be perfectly fancy.”
As such, when she began to carry on about what makes a person good tonight on the way home, I was delighted to hear her say, “It’s who you are that counts!”
“That’s right,” I
gloated agreed. “You mean on the inside?”
“No,” she replied, “on the outside.”
Back to the drawing board.