I forget what age I was when I heard my first nursery rhyme, but there is one in particular that is burrowed deep into my memory bank like a steel nail into softened wood.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
This quote, as you probably remember, comes from the fairy tale Snow White. Every day Snow White’s stepmother would ask the mirror this infamous question, serving to illustrate that the way a woman often determines whether or not she is beautiful is to ask this one power-packed question of an inanimate object. No human interaction necessary. Interesting, to say the least.
We all know the way this fairy tale ends. One day the mirror definitively announces that Snow White is indeed the most beautiful woman in the land, thus leading the wicked queen to plot the murder of her own step-daughter. (Isn’t it crazy to think that these types of stories are told to impressionable little children where hatred, betrayal, and murder are presented as acceptable?! Yikes!)
This story leads me to ask the question:
What impact does this tale have on young girls as they absorb the subliminal message that beauty is determined by something outside of oneself?
But even more concerning is the way this story models how easily a powerful woman can succumb to listening to the feedback of a mirror over that of another human being or even herself. In modern terminology this translates to a woman “listening” to the definitive messages from magazines, television, and movies (a.k.a. main stream culture) as the ultimate definer of beauty. Inanimate objects at the helm once again. Not so different than the fairy tale your daughter may have heard as a little girl.
The truth is that your daughter is asking this same question every single day of her life:
“Am I beautiful?”
She longs to be told she is beautiful.
She wants to know if she is beautiful.
She needs to know that she is beautiful.
She will keep asking and looking until someone tells her that she is.
She needs YOU dad to answer her question.
If she doesn’t hear it from you she will find another mirror on another wall who will tell her she is the fairest maiden in all the land. Sadly, some of the “mirrors” who tell her these words have a hidden agenda, ready to tell her what she wants to hear in order to get or take something from her.
You have no other agenda than to let her know that you see her beauty completely and fully.
She will never tire of hearing you tell her what you see when you look at her.
Here is how Rick said it to other dads in The Abba Project as they stand together with the goal of intentionally pursuing their daughter’s hearts,
“We’ve got a job to do, men. We need to reinforce what we see in our daughters because it counters what society is telling them as women.”
The truth is that you are a mirror to your daughter, a truth that invites the question: What kind of mirror are you?
Give her specifics about what you see in her that is beautiful.
- What about her eyes are breathtaking?
- What about the way she did her makeup today is pretty?
- What about the color she's wearing looks stunning on her?
- What about her personality is creatively being expressed in her outfit today?
Dad, stand up as a warrior and help to fight for your daughter. She needs YOU to do battle for her so she can see herself as she truly is.
Here’s your practical battle plan:
Write messages with ERASABLE MARKER directly onto her mirrors (bathroom, bedroom, rear view mirror, or overhead mirror in her car) or on STICKY NOTES that you can attach to any or all of her mirrors (bathroom and bedroom) with TRUTH about her from your point of view.
p.s And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a picture that Abba Project dad, Dan, took of his daughter who is sitting by the messages he wrote on her mirror. He regularly writes messages now for her and she never wants to take them off her mirror. That's what I call win/win!
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