painting-63186_640Physical appearance is very important to most adults and crucial to teenagers.   Most plastic surgeons depend on that fact.  We did our best to ensure that our children were well groomed and dressed.  We also paid for acne treatments and braces, when necessary.  It was important to us that our children had a positive self image, remembering that outward appearance is not the most important attribute.  Certainly, appearance is less important than integrity, modesty, righteousness, etc.   

How we dress and treat our bodies sends a message to those that see us.  It is basic advertising.  Whether we like it or not, we send messages by our dress, our words, our body language, etc.  We are, in essence, marketing ourselves by the choices we make.   

The following are the words of our oldest daughter.

“When I was in my first year of college I went with some friends to the mall and pierced my ear. I didn’t do the piercing in the lobe, but at the top of my ear. My Dad did not like this at all. He didn’t think that I should put holes in my body anywhere and that this hole would give people the wrong impression of me. He sent me a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup in the mail. I didn’t know it was chicken noodle soup though because he had taken off the label and replaced it with one that had the symbol for poison on it and in big letters read “POISON.”

His lesson was included in a letter. If there is delicious, comforting, nutritious and wholesome chicken noodle soup inside the soup can how would anyone know if the label showed something different, like poison. It is the same with how I present myself. I have a wholesome and good spirit inside, but if my appearance says differently how would anyone know?  I let the hole in my ear close up and haven’t worn an earring there since.”

Most people enjoy beautiful things; however, some have a more refined sense of beauty than others.  They can appreciate good music, beautiful art, colorful flowers, the vast ocean, majestic Sequoia trees, etc.  The most refined can see beauty in people that are not physically beautiful.

It is important to not overemphasize physical beauty in our children.  It creates a distorted sense of self-image at best and can be devastating at worst.  Because of the society that we live in, we need to be especially careful with our daughters.  It is equally important that we teach our daughters that beauty is not sexual and that dressing and acting “sexy” is not being beautiful.

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