There are a million reasons plus a million more why I think my daughters are fantastic and straight up beautiful. So I don’t think twice about talking to them about all the parts that make them who they are, like the choices they make, the things they like to play and who they are playing them with (or fighting with if there is a sister involved.)
And then I read something about how girls get complimented by adults on their appearance about a gazillion to one compared to boys, while boys are more likely to get complimented on their abilities and talents. And I thought Well that’s silly because I rarely talk to my girls about their appearance. I make sure their bottoms are covered when we go out in public and they have shoes on in places that say “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service”. So when I heard that statistic, I was quite pleased with myself for not being one of those superficial complimenters.
Until I noticed what I said to my FRIENDS’ daughters.
I didn’t realize how quick I was to comment on girls’ appearance until I made a conscious effort not to. I find it easier with my own girls to compliment them on things other than their outfit because I know them. But for the other girls in my life it is often my fallback greeting. Always as a way of saying, “I see you. I notice you.” But I can see and notice so much more than their dress can’t I? I’m smart enough to figure out some places to extend some compliments.
It’s helped to have some words on the ready so I can let them know what is important to me goes way beyond the way they look or dress. Here are a few I’ve been known to throw out there:
1. Your joy is beautiful. “You have a beautiful smile.” “Yours eyes twinkle when you’re thinking about that.” “It makes me happy to see you so happy.” There is a radiance about people who are enjoying the moment. We can teach girls that with the ways we affirm them in those moments of joy.
2. Your talents are beautiful. “You did that puzzle all by yourself? You are so good that!” “Wow! You are fast on your bike!” “I think that drawing is lovely. Can you tell me about it?” God makes us each unique, there is no reason we shouldn’t point out girls’ natural abilities to encourage them to live into who God made them to be. They don’t have to be delicate talents either (think fine arts) they just need to be uniquely hers and we need to be genuinely interested in them.
3. Your heart is beautiful. “Thank you for that hug. That helped cheer me up.” “That was so thoughtful when you brought your sister your bear.” “Great job including everyone when you were at school today. I can tell it made your friends feel special.” God’s heart is for us to treat each other well. Beauty in action is certainly attractive. Catch her doing things right.
4. Your thoughts are beautiful. “What did you think of that story?” “I’ve never thought of it that way.” “That is a great idea!” From her opinions to her ponderings, you are getting insights into who she is. When you affirm her questions or insights you are letting her know she has something valuable to contribute to discussions and the world. That her ideas matter.
5. Your presence is beautiful. “It’s so good to see you.” “I’m glad you’re here.” “I’ve missed you.” Are my fall backs when I greet a girl and nothing else comes to mind. These are all ways to let a girl know her very existence is a gift to others and you’re glad she is around. This speaks right into why she is valuable. She is valuable because she was created and bear’s God’s image. It’s so simple and indeed beautiful.
Do you want some more practical ideas on speaking to, parenting, mentoring girls? Do you want to be challenged for 7 days to love your girl in ways you might not normally? Then join me and Krista at Meaning in a Minute for the 7 Day Daughter Dare.