How many times did your mother tell you that inner beauty is more important than what you look like on the outside? Okay, so maybe it wasn't a coincidence that she said it every time your hair frizzed or you had a pimple in the middle of your forehead...on school picture day.
Now I'll ask you how many times you've said the same thing to your children?
There's a reason we say that, you know. We say it because it's true. The Bible tells us in 1st Peter 3:3-4 that...Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
As parents we do our best to impart these 'pearls of wisdom' to our children, but sometimes we wonder how well we are getting the message across. I know I have, but there have also been plenty of times when my heart was happy, happy, happy knowing the message had been received loud and clear...
Being a farm family, one of the highlights of our year came each August--the county fair. The kids looked forwrard to watching fair-goers came through to view their sheep and cows and to competing with their 4-H friends for ribbons and prize money. But one year, 14 year-old Olivia decided to participate in an additional competition...the one of "Fair Princess".
I have to admit I was surprised when she announced she wanted to participate in the pageant. Not because I didn't think she was pageant "worthy", but because Olivia wasn't what you would consider a girly-girl. But since we were going to be there anyway and it wasn't like she was going against the moms or girls on "Toddlers and Tiaras" John and I told her to go for it.
It was obvious she was having a good time and was keeping things in the right perspective. I say obvious, because whenever I picked her up from pageant practice, she was always talking and laughing with the other girls. She didn't view them as competition. She viewed them as friends.
So on the night of the pageant when it was time to announce the winners and runners up, we couldn't have been happier or prouder when the pageant director explained that the title of Miss Congeniality was voted on by the contestants themselves and that the winner, Olivia Noble, had received the vote of every one of her fellow contestants.
Olivia was a beautiful girl who has grown into a beautiful young woman. But the brightness in her eyes and her smile aren't just pretty. They are a reflection of the beauty inside her heart and soul.
As parents you need to be on guard against the world's perception of beauty; protecting you children (especially girls) from being caught up in the lies and deceptions that what they look like on the outside is what makes them beautiful, loveable and valuable. Affirm the characteristics that make them truly beautiful--compassion, kindness, respect, sincerity, honesty, integrity.... And proclaim them to be the Miss Congeniality(ies) of your life each and every day.