For myself, I honestly don’t think much about “beauty” on a daily basis.
As part of my de-hobo-ization initiative, I make an effort to get dressed in “real” clothes every day…at least a pair of Capri pants or shorts and a decent t-shirt…something I can wear comfortably around the house, and still make a quick run to the grocery store.
I have a pretty simple wash-and-dry hairstyle. If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll throw on a little makeup.
But after I get dressed in the mornings, I don’t pay much attention to myself as I walk by the mirror. I might give myself a quick glance if I’m heading out somewhere...or I might not.
Kinda like my age, I figure my appearance is what it is. I do the best I can…I’m reasonably well-groomed, and I’m healthy…and I have plenty of other things to occupy my mind.
Still, “beauty” is on my mind with respect to my girls.
We live in a world with a lot of mirrors. I don’t think my “it is what it is”, “outta sight and outta mind” approach will fully equip the girls to see through the inevitable smoke that they’ll encounter.
Of course I think my girls are the most stunning creatures on the planet, and I can’t help but tell them so. I think it’s important that they hear it, but I don’t want to over-emphasize it, either.
For one, I know I tell my girls, “You’re Mommy’s most beautiful baby girl!” at some pretty random times…times that – at least by grown-up culture standards – most folks don’t tend to look very “beautiful”…
…like when they wake up and have crazy bed-head and sleepy eyes…like during supper when they have the remains of baked ziti on their faces, and watermelon juice dripping down their chins…like when they’re hot and sweaty (their cheeks aglow in rosy red)…
And I really try to use the word “beautiful” to describe a lot of different things…
...as in, “What a beautiful plate of vegetables!”…”What a beautiful story!”…”What a beautiful song!”
As we try to instill our values in our children, and equip them to face this big, bad, beautiful world of ours, I think the tendency sometimes is not to talk about beauty…to reinforce that it doesn’t matter.
After a lot of thought over the past couple of years, I don’t think that’s the complete answer.
The answer – for me – is to try to show the girls that “beauty” is everywhere. It’s big and broad in its definition. It’s a feeling, an appreciation. And it’s inside me, and inside them.