“You are beautiful.”
You could have heard a pin drop.
Every eye was riveted on the 20-something, handsome young man speaking at the podium.
He continued, “Let me say it again, ‘You are beautiful.’ And I want to be clear. If any boy does not respect you and your boundaries, they aren’t good enough for you. Period.”
It sounds like something a mother might say – should say. But coming from this young man, it had an especially entrancing — and hopefully lasting — effect on the middle school girls in the audience.
As part of a spring Mother/Daughter Bible Study at our church, I had asked our area’s Young Life Director to come and speak to the girls and moms about modesty.
He was blunt. He was direct. And he was tender. It was a devastating combination. “When you dress a certain way, you’re inviting a boy to see you as an object. He’s not interested in your personality, your character, all the things that make you, you,” he said. “And you are more than a body. You are beautiful – in ways that have nothing to do with how you look.”
Unfortunately, this is not the message our girls are getting today. Everywhere you look, girls and women are “objectifying” themselves. As the mom of a teenage girl, it can be downright depressing. No, maddening. It makes me mad. At the culture. And at my inability to completely protect her from its influence.
But mostly it makes me sad. Sad that so many girls don’t recognize their incredible value as creations of God. Because when we don’t recognize our value, we make foolish choices. We compromise. We settle. We borrow a lot of pain and trouble.
A while back, my daughter asked me what made her special. Specifically, she asked, “God thinks everyone’s special. How does that make me unique?”
What I told her was this: “You’re right. God does love everyone and think each of His creation is special. But there is only one Molly. He has a plan and a purpose for you that is like no one else’s in the world. I don’t want you to miss out on all that He wants to do with your life because you don’t recognize your incredible value.”
That is where true Girl Power comes from – their Creator and the many gifts, plans and unique qualities he entrusted to them alone.
Rather than focusing on the culture, which we can’t control, I’m encouraging you to focus on what you can control: the messages – and appropriate boundaries – you give to your daughters. Find mentors and experiences that reinforce them. Start early and stand firm. I’m right there with you on the front line. They will fight you. Bet on it.
But true Girl Power is too valuable to waste.