Monday, October 29, 2012

Altering Appearances

Norman Rockwell's "Girl at Mirror"

To be perfectly honest I thought childlike innocence would be lost before fourth grade. With all the pressures to look a certain way—to have the right clothes, shoes and brands—how does a child go through five years of school without succumbing?

But there she was looking all confused about the daily writing prompt.

If there was one thing you could alter about your appearance, what would it be?

I watched her extremely chapped lips and chin form the words, “I don’t get it.”

So, in my teacher voice I explained the words “alter” and “appearance” for the whole class.

The question is asking, ‘If you could change one thing about the way you look, what would you change?’

She furrowed her brow and looked at me again to see if I found it absurd. Then she asked, “What if you don’t want to change anything?”

Now, you might think this girl just didn't want to complete her writing assignment. But that wasn't the case. She is a high achiever who likes to do things right, which was exactly why she was asking about the question she “didn't get.”

For a moment I considered coming up with some alternative question just so she would have something to write about. 

But I didn't.

How many times in my life have I heard a girl, or a woman for that matter, say, “I don’t want to change anything about the way I look”? Exactly never.

Until that moment.

So instead I told her, “Just write that. ‘There is nothing I want to change about the way I look.’”

If it wouldn't have freaked her out I might have added this plea: “Sweetheart, don’t merely write it in your notebook! Write it on your heart so that someday when a magazine or a commercial or a boy or a mean girl tells you otherwise, you can file through your memory to the day you knew there was nothing about your appearance that ought to be changed.”

Do you remember a time when you could honestly say, “There is nothing I want to change about the way I look”?

Psalm 139:14
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well