Yesterday my 16-year-old daughter Ashley was lying in front of the fireplace doing homework. Not knowing her mother and I were both gazing at her, she lightly brushed her hair aside with her forefinger.
Her mom couldn’t resist. “Ashley, you are beautiful.”
Ashley looked up at her with skepticism and chuckled. “Yeah… right!”
Sadly, in a world bombarded with unattainable images of what beauty should be, I don’t know many teen girls who truly think they’re beautiful.
Why is beauty the one characteristic that seems to trump all others? How about wisdom? How about integrity?
As a father of two teenaged daughters, and a guy who keeps up on youth culture for his job, I’m always on the lookout for good advice about raising confident kids. This year I fell upon a young lady’s blog that caught my eye. She’s won the battle against bulimia, but is still fighting the war. Her posts are filled with encouragement for young woman struggling with the temptation to “measure up” to today’s unattainable beauty standards.
The young lady’s name is Rihanna Teixeira. The first post I stumbled upon was titled “God Listens to Coldplay,” a vulnerable anecdote of waking up one morning, feeling distraught and engrossed in self pity. In her dialogue with God that particular morning, the words to Coldplay’s song Yellow came to mind.
“Look at the stars, look how they shine for you…”
I shared the post with my daughter Ashley, and her eyes lit up. “I totally have thought the same thing.”
I began following this Rihanna (not the other one) on Twitter and reading her articles. They constantly are filled with encouragement for young women who love Jesus and need Him desperately.
After commenting back and forth with her, I eventually contacted Rihanna and asked her if she would be interested in writing an article to parents about how to build a girl’s self-image… not knowing what I’d get.
Last week she sent me an article, Four Practices That Build a Girl’s Self-image, an extremely helpful guide for parents as well as a candid peek into her own struggles with eating disorders. The article was spot on, and loaded with application for today’s parents.
The two of us linked some current research into the article and I posted it this week as our Youth Culture Window article on the front of both our youth ministry and our parent website. I encourage you to not only read this article, but pass it on to any parents of girls you may know.