The other day I had a conversation with my 5-year-old daughter that concerned me. Yvette is a beautiful, smart, feisty and confident young lady who never backs down from a challenge and isn’t afraid of anything or anyone! The other night as she was putting out her clothes for the next day, she informed me that she did not have any jeans. Knowing she had a drawer full, I figured she meant her favorite jeans were not there, and I know they were in the laundry hamper. She became very sad and said, “No Mommy, these jeans don’t make me look pretty!” I immediately pounced into Mommy Mode, held her in my arms and asked her why she felt that way. She told me that a girl in her class had said that her jeans didn’t make her look pretty. I didn’t recognize the name, so I knew this little girl was not a member of Yvette’s regular circle of friends. I wanted to weep with her – knowing how confident Yvette is, I was angered that another child had broken her spirit. It was only for a moment – I immediately reminded her of how beautiful and smart and sweet and kind she was. I asked her if she believed those things about herself and she confidently said YES! (That’s my girl!). Then I reminded her, as I always remind my children when they are called anything other than their name, that she needed to stand firm in her belief, no matter what anyone else said. I also reminded her that real beauty has nothing to do with the clothes one wears. I felt her tears dry up and my little girl was back.
But again, the conversation troubled me. Since when does a 5-year-old girl know, have the right to, or have the NERVE to tell a classmate that an article of clothing does not make her look pretty? It hurt me that she had to feel that pain, especially at her young age. Parents, let’s make sure that our children learn these lessons early. The lessons of self-confidence and respect for themselves as well as for others.