As beautiful as this letter is, it misses the point entirely! This father, who obviously understands what the World wants from his precious daughter, misses how to protect those so innocent.
Here is my letter to this dad …
Dear father in the make-up aisle,
I don’t have girls, but I am the mom of three young boys. As I contemplate your letter to your daughter, I think about what a loving dad you are, who obviously wants to protect his daughter from the influence of the “world”. And I, like you, worry about what the world wants and expects from my boys. Our generation’s children.
So, after being lured to the make-up aisle by a friend’s text, you sat there, studying the names of the products, scanning magazine images and felt complete disgust, as you mulled this freshly-discovered message these products are collectively and individually sending your daughter … as you should. You recorded your thoughts…
… “Words have power, and the words on display in this aisle have a deep power. Words and phrases like:
Instant age rewind,
Choose your dream,
Nearly naked, and
Is this really your very first realization of the insane message being pulsed day in and day out to any person paying attention? There, on the floor of the make-up aisle? I have to ask… where have you been? Have you not noticed (maybe even purchased) one of those magazines that have been there in the checkout lane for decades? Those images of half-dressed women (and men) screaming “LOOK AT ME” from a half-dozen magazine covers? Those images parents are forced to deal with as we do everything in our power to divert our children’s attention while we wait to checkout? Oh, and while I’m thinking about it… have you not noticed you are standing among half-dressed women IN the malls, IN the restaurants, IN the stores, IN the airport, etc? Did you miss them somehow? The world has been saying this to the children for a very long time…. “a pretty face and a body to enjoy” and how you must “look a certain way to have any worth or influence.” Where have you been dad?
I know the answer, just like most of us know the answer … because most of us didn’t stop to think about this before we had children. Many of us not only didn’t think about it, we participated in it. Dressing like the World, thinking like the World, acting like the World. Well, guess what… If you walk it, talk it and act it, YOU ARE THE WORLD! It was only after we had children did it start to sink in. Believe me. I.Get.It.
What is the answer? It was there, in your letter the whole time, albeit not the answer you thought you penned.
But words do have power and maybe, just maybe, the words of a father can begin to compete with the words of the world. Maybe a father’s words can deliver his daughter through this gauntlet of institutionalized shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of her own worthiness and beauty.
You had the right answer, just the wrong Father in mind. Our Father in Heaven does not use the words from the make-up aisle … as a matter of fact, they are pretty much the opposite from His Word. He focuses more on our walk, our action, our motivation, how we treat others, how we provide for the less fortunate. He discourages us from focusing so much on ourselves.
1 John 2:15-17 (CJB) 15 Do not love the world or the things of the world. If someone loves the world, then love for the Father is not in him;16 because all the things of the world — the desires of the old nature, the desires of the eyes, and the pretensions of life — are not from the Father but from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remains forever.
Titus 2:11-12 (CJB) 11 For God’s grace, which brings deliverance, has appeared to all people. 12 It teaches us to renounce godlessness and worldly pleasures, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives now, in this age;
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CJB) 19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; 20 for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.
Romans 12:2 (CJB) 2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (the world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (CJB) 9 “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? 10 I, Adonai, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve.”
I would encourage you to seek His ways and path in teaching your children:
Deuteronomy 6:4 (CJB) “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. 6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.
Proverbs 22:6 (CJB) 6 Train a child in the way he [should] go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.
As much as we love our children, once they reach adulthood, we cannot protect them from the world. It’s too late for us once they are “of age”. Only our children themselves and Abba can protect them at that point. We have to teach them to walk on His path and to desire His ways while they are still in our homes and throughout their childhood. It is our responsibility to help them learn to focus on His Kingdom with their whole hearts, minds and bodies.
I am so thankful that God placed this desire on my heart when my children were young. What a blessing to learn His ways and be able to teach them to my children. I pray you will feel this calling as well…
A mom who cares!