"Mom, I want to lose weight too", my very skinny 6 year old said to me. My heart sank. I knew why she was saying this. I have been talking about being fat and needing to lose weight. I haven't been talking to her about this of course, but I have been talking to friends, and my husband. She hears everything I say. She imitates everything I do. And she wants to be just like me.
What messages have I been sending her? What ideas have I grown inside her mind? She weighs a mere 40lbs. Our pediatrician says she's very thin but she is just fine. She is a healthy eater and is extremely active. So why would she tell me she wants to lose weight? Maybe she says that because I say that! Maybe I have given her the idea that it's really important to lose weight. Perhaps because I have said things about myself it has made her look at herself... and wonder.
My heart is breaking as I think through this. One thing I know for sure, we moms must be so careful about what we say and do with our daughters. I desire to instill in my daughters the knowledge that true beauty comes from the inside. I want to teach them not to be overly concerned about their physical appearance. I want them to love the Lord with all their hearts and I want them to enjoy living. I do not want my daughters to struggle with the world's ideals about weight and beauty. If I am to instill in my daughters a healthy view of themselves I must develop one of myself. I will teach my daughters to eat healthy and exercise because our bodies are temples of God's Holy Spirit, not because the world says thin is in.
Moms - be careful what you say. Our daughters are listening!
1 Samuel 16:7b For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
Some of my ideas for Moms and Daughters:
Read good books together about inspirational women.
Have a tea party and talk about how special she is and why.
Avoid TV shows, fashion magazines, and other things that promote worldly beauty.
Talk every day about God's great love for us.
Give compliments on things she does instead of how she looks.
Be careful not to gripe and complain about your own physical appearance.
Encourage your daughter to play an instrument, cook, sew, paint, quilt, bake, garden, draw, sing and write.
Explain true beauty.
Show love and acceptance and patience toward your daughter.
With your daughter play beautiful music in your home, set a beautiful table, and grow beautiful flowers.
Do lots of hugging, have lots of heart talks, and do lots of playing.