"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On the Princess Thing

When I became a mother, I had a list of things my children would never be allowed to indulge in. The list started with the obvious things like obnoxious TV shows, foul language, disrespect toward any one, and violence of any sort. I'm pretty sure those are all just givens for most parents.

And then my list became a little more narrow once I found out I was having girls. An overwhelming concern started creeping it's way into my heart for how the heck I was going to raise girls in this society. This society that values physical beauty more than anything else. This society that teaches us to "follow our hearts" and "do what feels right." This society that seems to have lost the idea of a solid Truth.

And in my head, the root of all that silliness was to be found in two places...Disney Princesses and Barbie.

They became the devil to me.

I forbid them entry into my home.

I told everyone never to purchase anything Disney Princess or Barbie related for my children or they would be cut out of the will...

not that there's much they'd be missing out on, but still, that's how serious I was.

But every other little girl on the planet loves Princesses and Barbies and so, my girls inevitably were exposed and that began a process of me realizing that trying to stop a little girl from loving princesses was like trying to hold back the tide. Not possible.

It began with Ariel. Both of my girls LOVE Ariel. We bought the movie. And then some bathtub toys. And then eventually the doll. And my heart began to soften a bit when I saw how much they enjoyed doing her hair and pretending with her and how they play "mermaid" in the bathtub. Ah. Dor. Ah. Bul.

And then there was Giselle. She's really not so bad. Kind of sweet actually. And she does have pretty dern good taste. I like her. And, there's no exposed belly button or those sea shells so, that helped.

And now, it's Belle. And I gotta say, I really like Belle. She's my kind of princess. She enjoys the simple things in life, she's not interested in other people's expectations of her. She doesn't judge a book by it's cover. Pretty cool chic, if you ask me.

And then I began to question what my girls were learning from these princesses? Are they learning that happily ever after can only come once they find their Prince Charming? Are they learning that you have to be considered physically beautiful by the world's standards to be valuable? Are they being inundated with this naive idea that "True Love breaks the spell?"

And then I thought about it some more. And you know what I decided?

I don't give myself enough credit. I mean yeah, who doesn't love a pretty princess. Heck, I'm even fairly enamored with them. But when it's all said and done, my girls...they're looking at ME. I will be the one to help them answer those questions. I have more say in how they define beauty and value than I realize.

I mean, what am I really teaching them when I stand on the scale and mutter obscene things under my breath when the number isn't to my standard? What am I teaching them about value and worth when they see that I can't even take a compliment? What are they learning, when they hear their mother compare herself to the world?

And this whole idea of "True Love breaking the spell?" Well, it does. True love really does turn a beast into a prince and a servant girl into a princess. It really does wake you from your sleep. It really does conquer all. But, true and perfect love isn't found in any Prince Charming we'll meet on earth. Yes, marriage to your earthly Prince Charming is absolutely a tangible example of Christ's relationship with us and it's wonderful. I highly recommend it. But marriage can be hard. Tough. It doesn't always feel like "Happily Ever After."

But the Love of Christ. Now that's a "Happily Ever After" we can count on. That's a True Love. A perfect Love. That's the one that breaks the spell!

So perhaps this Princess thing isn't all bad. I mean, I could really work it in to some pretty meaningful life lessons. I could really shape how my girls view beauty and love and value.

And I'm glad.

Because I have to admit, I could watch Enchanted till the cows come home.

5 comments on "On the Princess Thing"

Erin on May 25, 2010 at 9:32 AM said...

Fantastic post, Anne, you couldn't be more spot on. So much to think about...and you crack me up! You're such a great writer!

Emily said...

Beautifully written!

Sara on May 25, 2010 at 3:09 PM said...

haha! you make me laugh, thank you for making child-rearing seem fun and worth it =)

Sebastian on May 25, 2010 at 5:05 PM said...

Great post. There is a line in one of George MacDonald's books (I think The Princess and the Goblin) about the girl in the story being a princess, because she of course was a daughter of The King.
It is very easy to forget that we are in fact daughters of The King.
I'm not so thrilled with the irrational wasp waistedness of the Disney princesses. But in most cases, the girls are people we are fond of because they look beyond physical beauty and status of those around them. They fall in love with waifs or beasts. They keep house for a bunch of dwarves, for goodness sake.
Though I have to draw the line at Pocahantas and Hunchback. Yuck. Disney should stick to fairy tales and not real history or great literature.

Amanda Jo on May 28, 2010 at 11:56 AM said...

This is a great post! Love the way you brought it all down to the REAL Prince Charming!! By the way, I have an award for you on my blog!!