June 27, 2011

I Try to Stay on Top of the News But it Makes Me All Sassy

 Man, can't middle school just be the worst?
Had a certain seventh grade boy insulted my intelligence, it might have stung, but I think I would have shrugged it off. I knew the truth about my mind and I knew just how smart I was.
But instead, in front of a group of people, he told me just how ugly he believed me to be.
I was completely taken aback.
Truthfully, I had never really evaluated my looks.
Sure, I was going through an awkward glasses-and-braces-and-frizzy stage, but I had never really been bothered by what I looked like.
And while I am now perhaps too convinced of my own good looks, clearly this comment has stayed with me for a looooooong time.
Now, my parents have always instilled in me a healthy sense of the power of my mind and the scope of my intelligence.
For Pete's sake, my neighbor has called me Madame la Presidente since I was eight years old because I was going to be the first female Commander-in-Chief.
Still could be, I suppose, but frankly that seems like a rather undesirable job. Less opportunity to spend the day in yoga pants, for one.

"Hey, what's the point of this post?" you say.
Glad you asked!
I try to stay on top of grown-up-ish news to prevent spiraling into a black hole of board books and stacking blocks and have recently been thinking a lot about gender roles and how parents shape their childrens' identities.
Like many people, I have been fascinated by the story of Baby Storm and the idea that parents could raise a "genderless" chid. 
I read this article about parenting and the messages we send to little girls with a lot of interest, but also some conflict.

{Caveat: I agree with so much of what the author says. So to her I say, "yes, and..."}
The author, Lisa Bloom, seems to offer what I see as a false dichotomy: beauty or brains.
On the one hand, I was inwardly cheering: Yes! Talk to little girls about books!
On the other hand, if the little girl in question is beautiful (and she is, I am sure), then we should tell her that too.
Lisa quotes a lot of statistics and I love statistics!
"Twenty-five percent of young American women," she writes, "would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize."
Quick, turn that stat around!
Seventy-five percent of young American women would rather win the Nobel Peace Prize!
Pats on the back for everyone! Well done, parents of American young women. 
But back to the problem at hand. 
By pretending that beauty doesn't exist, we make it taboo.
We make it wrong.
Or maybe someday someone will insult her, and she won't know the truth to be able to defend herself.
Pretending we don't see beauty seems (to me) to be the same kind of silly thinking that led us to believe that we could pretend not to see race or see gender. 
The problem is not that we acknowledge it but rather when we place incorrect value on beauty (or brains or race or career or car or...). 
Little girl, you do not have to choose; you are the whole stinkin' package.
(Gosh, can't we just get so tripped up when we're talking about identity? No pressure to be the whole package-- just that I think we are! We are smart. We are beautiful. Or maybe we're not and that's okay too. Just as there is a false choice between being career-minded and being a mom, I think women are often told to choose between being smart and being pretty. And that's silly. I know too many cheerleader-turned-chemistry professors  and California girl-turned-mom-turned-cancer researchers to ever believe that.)

So child of mine, I'm talking to you now.
You are super handsome.
You are very curious.
Your favorite book is called "I Love You," and that is pretty cute.
I love how social you are.
I think you might be a kind baby, but the jury is still out on that as you have recently bitten my ankle and it has left a mark
You are silly.
You feel very little physical pain (so, this morning you shut a drawer on your fingers, kept going and by the way, we should get on that whole baby-proofing thing).
You are determined and steady in trying to achieve your goals.
You are probably really really smart.

But the truth?
I hope you don't find your identity in any of those things.
If you build your identity on being handsome, there will always be someone more handsome than you. And you might someday miss out on a great friendship or relationship because you judged someone else on their looks.
If you build your identity on being smart, there will always be someone smarter than you.
You might miss out on a great friendship or relationship because you judged someone else on their intelligence or where they went to school.

I pray that you find your identity in Christ.
You are God's child.
You are Christ's friend.
You have been bought with a price.
You are complete in Christ.
You are free from condemnation.
You cannot be separated from the love of God (you hear that?).
You have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and might.
You are God's workmanship.

As your mama, I know that I will mess up mightily
But that is my prayer for you-- that you would trust your life to Christ, knowing that you (whoever you turn out to be) are fearfully and wonderfully made.

This I know full well. 


  1. I just keep loving this blog more and more. Beautifully put Becca! I'm holding onto this post to read to Sofia as a regular bedtime story!

  2. Becca, you are a wonderful mom. I hope you'll get this blog made into a book some day - I'm sure Cruz would cherish it.

  3. I pray the same for Cruz and my grandsons. Beautifully written, Becca. Love and prayers, Aunt Beth


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