Disclaimer: This post is about rethinking the way we as people speak to others. How our speech forms how others view themselves and how the words I’ve heard have shaped me as a woman.
I have been a girl mom for fifteen months. With boys the phrase that comes up often is “you’ve got your hands full.” I have written about this before and have received comments about how people are not meaning any harm and I should respond in love. I hear you. I want you to know I have never back-handed anyone or snarled at the ones rolling their eyes at me or shaking their heads and sighing when they see me with my three sons so close together. My sons do not cause me trouble nor are they inconveniences to me but they are, each and every one of them, a precious gift.
This post and the peeling back of responses to children in culture is more about an aching heart for how we see and respond to others. How we can give a voice to the little dear ones in our strollers and our grocery carts. How we as grown ups can reform ourselves, grow and be better when we engage people out in the world.
I don’t think I have heard the phrase “you’ve got your hands full” since my post They Can Hear You went bananas last summer and basically broke the internet. That is a win for me. So here it goes with my latest thoughts about speech… I have been a girl mom for fifteen months and there is a new phrase I am rethinking. It is a phrase we all use and a phrase that bubbles out of our months when we see a little girl approaching our path, “she is so cute.”
Cute. C-U-T-E. attractive, especially in a dainty way; pleasingly pretty
This is an overwhelmingly kind comment. I actually use it all the time when I see girls of all kinds. Cute shoes, cute hair, cute shirt. I remember being on vacation one year in Florida and I had seen some family there who were vacationing in the Sunshine State at the same time. I remember running into a particular younger family member, she was maybe seven at the time, and I used these exact words to connect with her. “You are so cute.” Her father quickly interjected and said, “She is also very smart and very kind.”
I was taken back. I didn’t understand his rebuttal back then but I do now.
It seems as if we as people are very quick to comment on the outward appearances of especially women and we forget to see what God sees, the inward beauty that is not fleeting but is everlasting.
Being cute, dainty and pretty will eventually come and go and on that day the women and the girls we have been complimenting on their cuteness will be left wondering, who am I? But inner beauty cannot be matched. Courage, boldness, intelligence, a heart for the Lord, kind, important and loved. Those are the things we should be fighting to say to those sweet girls that will one day be women when they cross our path in that grocery store.
I love dressing my daughter in ribbons, bows and smocked dresses. She loves standing next to me while I put on my makeup and she likes to brush the make up brush on her face and say “pretty.” I am not calling for a strike against girliness, I love being girly. However, I am wondering about how I can build my daughter up with other words, words other than cute.
Currently, when we hear the phrase, “she is so cute” I always respond, “she is VERY loved.” And she is. Who wouldn’t be in a family with three big brothers?
L-O-V-E-D: held in deep affection; cherished
As a woman in my thirties I would much rather be cherished than the words dainty and cute. Cherished feels more secure than dainty.
I want my daughter and all of the daughters in our homes to know from the beginning that they are more than their appearance, their bows, or the outfits they are rocking on that day.
All of our daughters are loved, cherished, kind, smart, important, accepted and loved by The Most High God. Let’s saturate our compliments for little girls with truths they can take with them into eternity.
Cute and dainty are the outward things that man sees. Let’s try to fight to see the inward beauty that God sees. For a more confident generation: will you walk with me in reshaping the way we rotely respond to our sisters… young and old?