This morning as she searched through the floordrobe (you know, the pile of clean clothes on the floor) she told me, “I’m looking for something to make me the most beautiful!”
And suddenly it struck me: the word “beautiful” is probably the most frequent compliment I give her. Along with “cute”, “gorgeous”, “lovely”, and so on. Most of the positive things I tell her about herself are about her appearance.
In fact, the quality I think is the most remarkable about Elspeth is her intelligence. She’s very bright, very sharp. Yet I hardly ever tell her in a similar praising tone that she is “clever” or “smart”. She’s also, on occasion, very sweet and kind, and I try to praise that when I see it too, but it’s still not as often as the appearance-based compliments.
She has clearly received the message that it is important to be beautiful. That’s not something I really intended. I need to work on making sure she knows that beauty is not the only quality worth having – indeed, it is perhaps the least important!