What Every Mom Should Teach Her Daughter

What Every Mom Should Teach Her Daughter

We were preparing for family dinner and she wanted to help set the table. Honestly, the stressed-out, control freak in me wanted to do it myself. But I’ve learned to encourage her servant’s heart, especially when she takes initiative.

She was wearing one of her favorite outfits. With forks in hand (dear Lord) she stepped away from the table and started to twirl.

“I love how this shirt twirls, Mommy. Look. . .” she said.

“So pretty sweetie,” I responded, affirming her 6 year old heart.

“Mommy, I don’t like it when my shirts are tight on my belly,” she added  “it makes me look fat.”

I stopped dead in my tracks, half wanting to cry that my little girl was experiencing her first bout of self-doubt and half shocked that my teeny-tiny peanut could ever consider herself fat.

“Don’t you ever say that,” I began. . .but then I caught myself and softened my response. “Sweetie, you are absolutely beautiful and perfect just the way God made you. Honey, there is nothing fat about you. You have the most wonderful little body. You are beautiful.”

“But Mom, I wore that pink dress the other day and I don’t like it. It’s tight on my belly and shows my stomach. The other girls’ stomachs don’t look like that, ” she explained further.

“If you don’t like the way something fits sweetie, it’s okay to say you don’t like it or that it isn’t flattering. Do you know what flattering means? It means it doesn’t make you look your best. I understand that. Sometimes I don’t like the way things fit me. You don’t have to wear anything that makes you uncomfortable. But Hope, please don’t ever say you are fat because you are not. You are perfectly beautiful.”

She nodded as if she understood and I let out a huge sigh as she left the room.

Really? Are we really there already? She’s not even encountered the ugly lies of bullies and haters yet. These are just the quiet lies of the enemy.

It’s only the beginning.

But I’m a woman and I’m 38 years old, so I know as well as anybody that it’s the early, internal lies of the enemy mixed with the later, outspoken lies of others that tear apart our hearts, bit by bit, until we are left feeling so worthless.

My almost-40-year-old self has realized after years of struggling with weight issues, identity, and lies of the enemy mixed with lies of those around me that the most important thing I can teach my daughter is confidence. But I cannot teach her to have something I don’t have myself.

Most of us girls are on a lifelong journey to understand the depth of our worth. . .the beauty of our uniqueness. My girl is just beginning her journey to confidence and I have the privilege of being her guide. I am a student and a teacher of learning to love who God made us, each uniquely designed according to his master plan.

Proverbs 3

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4

It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I came across this powerful verse. Perhaps I was too focused on its very popular descendant (verse 5-6) to notice the importance of these words. Now they’ve been planted deep into my heart and I’ve adopted this as my life verse.

At times I like to refer to it as “the popularity principle” knowing that all most of us want in life is to be known and loved and recognized. I believe this to be the formula for achieving that goal in a Godly way. As my daughter and I walk along the path towards confidence together, I want to teach her and model these truths in order for us both to win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

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Jess Wolstenholm is founder of Gather & Grow and the Bloomtown Faith Family Devotion Podcast. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched Gather & Grow following the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012. Since, she's focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).