Friday, January 6, 2012

Well, Aren't You Adorable?

I saw this great post by Jeff Lawrence last night. It is a response to a Huffington Post piece written by Lisa Bloom entitled How to Talk to Little Girls.  In Bloom's article, which has been "liked" on Facebook by almost 400,000 people, she makes the point that with little girls, far too often the way we talk to them overemphasizes their physical attractiveness (e.g., "You're so cute..."), and, "Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything"

This, of course, only reinforces unhealthy cultural standards that they will face later in life, and serves to grease the skids toward their own practice of the idolatry of beauty. Instead, Bloom asserts, we need to interact with young girls in such a way that sets them up for, "A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments."

This is where Lawrence adds what I feel is a helpful insight to the conversation. Reading, independent thought and accomplishments are all good things. As is physical beauty for that matter. But, as Tim Keller points out in Counterfeit Gods, when we make any good thing an ultimate thing, it has supplanted God and becomes an idol. To guard our daughters from this, Lawrence suggests the following:
I must recognize that I cannot control all of the voices that my daughter will hear. She will always live in a world that overvalues her beauty. She will also have to deal with pressures to measure up intellectually and educationally and financially. Countless voices will praise, or criticize, her according to unhealthy standards.

I cannot control all of the voices that my daughter will hear, but I do know which one I want to be the loudest in her ears. It is not the voice of her boyfriend, or the academic advisor at her college, or the CEO of her company, or even my voice as her father. It is the voice of Jesus.

Her deepest longing is not to be loved for her beauty, praised for her intelligence, or admired for her performance. No, the deepest longing of the human heart is to be loved, and this longing is so deep that only God can fill it.
That's the beauty of the gospel: Jesus doesn't love us because we are beautiful. Or smart, or talented, or anything else. He loves us as we are, in all our unloveliness, because of his grace. And that's the most beautiful thing of all.

No comments: