School started a few weeks ago and we were discussing the things that every class talks about at the beginning of the year: classroom rules and procedures. With this comes good old R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as pretty much every classroom rule hinges on this sweet little word. I've always emphasized having respect for teachers, peers, and our school. But this year, a student in my first period class brought up that we should have respect for ourselves. I completely agreed with him and asked him to talk about that a bit more. He said that we shouldn't put ourselves down. He didn't directly say it, but he was trying to say that the way we speak to ourselves is important. In my mind I'm thinking, YES! YES YES YES, KID! You're a genius. Why have I never emphasized respecting ourselves when talking about respect?!
Anyway, this led to a lot of great discussion about self respect, confidence, growth mindset, and etc. If I am the teacher, then I better be modeling self respect, right? And self respect doesn't just include the things we say out loud, but how we feel about ourselves on the inside. It made me reflect on how I talk to myself, whether in my mind or the things I say out loud. Things like this came to mind:
1. I'm not qualified for this.
2. I'm not intelligent enough.
3. My thighs look like tree trunks.
4. I'm too shy.
5. Why am I the most awkward person alive?
6. My arms are huge.
7. I can't get anything right.
Yada, yada, yada...you get the picture.
But even more important than modeling self respect for my students, is modeling it for my daughter. The way I view myself will teach her how to view herself.
I can give her all the verbal affirmation in the world, but if I put myself down, then I teach her to do the same. The rest of the world will teach her to have insecurities and tempt her to criticize herself. God forbid that I put gasoline on that fire. I never want her to see me shrinking back in fear or comparing myself to others.
I dread the day when I will first see the war on her confidence and self-worth waged. And I'm sure it will happen sooner than I think. I am working on how I talk to myself now so that she always has an example of a confident, real woman.
I never want her to see me critiquing my shape in the mirror with a critical eye. (And sometimes this means not spending as much time getting ready! Sometimes the longer I spend getting ready, the more insecure I am about my appearance. I didn't think it was supposed to work like that!) I don't want to criticize the way God made me, because for one thing, she looks an awful lot like me! I also want her to know that beautiful means a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plus, constantly criticizing how I look will lead her to think that appearance is the most important thing about a woman.
I can be real about my weaknesses, but I can talk about them with dignity and acknowledge that Christ's power is made perfect in them. Furthermore, I can be just as real about my strengths, knowing that those too are for the glory of God.
Being a girl is hard so I am anticipating some of the challenges of raising one. When the world says that she is too this or too that, or not enough this or not enough that, I pray that her own voice will not join in. I pray that she will speak to herself with grace, kindness, and respect. I can only pray this prayer if I am willing to model it myself.
Trying to snag my iced coffee!
Moms to girls, if you have any insight in this area, I would love to hear! Thank you for reading my heart.