I never realized how important it is to instill values into children as early as possible. Growing up, I did well in school and it was often celebrated when I received my report cards and awards at ceremonies; this gave me pride in my education. My opinion was never asked for or listened to, in my household children were seen and not heard; this made me feel like nothing I said or thought mattered to anyone else and caused me to be introverted. I was never told I was beautiful, so I always felt unworthy of trying to exude beauty; I was a tomboy until I was about 16 years old and wore large clothing to hide my body. When I did start to wear feminine clothing, I received lots of attention. It was nice to finally be acknowledged for something at face value. (I couldn’t wear my academic achievements, so it made me feel good to be recognized as “pretty” for a first impression.) But I didn’t realize that, for some people, the way they look is all that matters and being attractive trumps all. I’ve realized that in the years that I grew up and now, are very different times. I see females showing more of their body, acting provocatively and being careless with their most prized possessions. This makes me question whether they know their worth.
Actually, the answer to that question is quite clear, they have no idea what they are worth because they haven’t been shown to value themselves. In my opinion, it’s important for girls to know that they are intelligent, capable and worthwhile. They also need to be taught that it is important to be conscious of the way they present themselves. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be allowed to wear what they want without being judged, I’m saying they should be taught to identify the difference between someone who wants their body and someone who appreciates their intelligence, personality, opinions and values.
As the adults in their lives, it’s up to us to help our girls understand this. I talk to young girls as much as I can, stressing the importance of education and professional drive. As well as the importance of keeping themselves safe, when it comes to sex. I sometimes feel like it’s not my place to talk to them about such things but if they’ve never heard anything like that before, maybe I can help one of them realize that they are priceless and their worth is unmeasured.