How do we encourage our daughters to focus on inner-beauty more than outward appearance?
My six-year-old girls love reading the Disney Princess books and dressing up. We’ve visited Disney World and enjoyed every minute of it (except the long lines!) – the magic of kids’ imaginations is heart-warming. However, one summer, as my daughters wore their princess dresses, I imagined them wanting to imitate women who love the Lord like Esther, Deborah, Mary, Ruth and Tabitha.
I began sharing story after story of women in the Bible who sought the Lord with all their heart. We read about Esther saving the Jewish people because of her bravery and loving God and others first. We talked about a simple girl named Mary who was courageous and carried Jesus, the Savior of the world. They learned that Ruth left everything to show compassion for her mother-in-law and that Tabitha cared deeply for the poor because of her love for Jesus.
Who do our daughters want to imitate? Who are their heroes?
The day my daughter, Gracie, told me she wanted to dress up like Esther, it was music to my ears. As we share Bible stories about beautiful hearted women who gained their confidence from God and loved the Lord and others, our daughters will want to imitate these women.
When Gracie was four-years-old, her four-year old sister, Brooklyn, wanted to borrow her dress. Gracie told her no. I gathered the kids around as I read about Ruth. I didn’t preach to Gracie – I just shared Ruth’s story. We talked about how difficult it must have been to leave everything behind to take care of Naomi and to put her interests first. We thought about the feelings Naomi might have had in that moment and about the qualities that made Ruth beautiful. Right after the story, Gracie silently walked upstairs. By the look on her face with her hands clinching the dress, I could see that she was debating about whether or not to share it.
After much deliberation, Gracie decided to give the dress to Brooklyn. Gracie was able to experience the joy that comes from giving and being selfless. Three year olds and younger need more direction with sharing, but four year olds and older should have opportunities to share on their own. Our kids will not always choose to and that’s okay; but, as we read stories from the Bible about people who loved God and loved others, these examples will fill their minds and hearts, and they will most likely want to do the same.
Children do not learn to share on their own, but they are so moldable.
We have practiced and discussed over and over what it looks like to share, along with Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Our triplets don’t always make the choice to share, but many times they do because of Bible stories they have heard and because of the words and heart of Jesus.
One of the questions we ask our girls in our family is “What makes you beautiful?” We have taught them this truth repeatedly, so they answer, “My heart, mind and soul.” 1 Samuel 16:7 is a refreshing verse to memorize with our children that reflects this outlook: “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Let’s share the words of Jesus as well as stories of beautiful hearted women in the Bible with our daughters so they are encouraged to focus on inner-beauty and to see as God sees. To learn more about a book for young girls I am working on entitled, Beautiful Hearted Women of the Bible: A Parent & Young Daughter Adventure, Click Here.