When did it happen? When did common sense die? In all fairness, I have been on the business end of the statement, "You have book smarts but no common sense," more times than I want to remember. So when I can see that common sense is dead, it died a horrible, gruesome and spectacular death. Today, I offer you an autopsy.
We spend an inordinate amount of time, money and pain on the "makeover." Why? We are told that we do it to improve ourselves. Is that really true? Aren't many of the things that are supposed to "improve" lives things that just distract us from the real issue?
Recently, I have become aware of parents financing breast augmentations for their teenage daughters. Come on now. What teenage brain is developed enough to correctly identify when the source of their problem is cup size? Parents that support this idea often consider themselves as indulgent parents. They consider themselves as their child's friend. This is actually two issues: at what point did we stop telling our children that it is who they are that is important and who in their right mind thinks it is more important to be a friend to your child than a parent?
It has been the way of the world that teenage years are the trial ground for personality testing, ethics testing and personal style development. The moral of The Lord of the Flies is unabated children are a reflection of raw human nature. Parenting is about making sure that they reach maturity and cultivating critical thinking skills. In theory, we teach our children to be the most complete "them" they can be without encroaching upon boundaries of others. I have heard that children learn what they live. If this is true, then what parents are apparently teaching their children appears to be that there are 12 acceptable people in the world and they need to pick one of them and let the pretending begin.
By allowing the issue to be about a girl's breast not being the "right" size, we side step the primary issue which is they are what they are. A girl is not her breasts nor do they define any aspect of her other than themselves as breasts. How can adults who cannot do this for themselves find it within them to do so for their daughters? They achieve this feat by behaving like parents.
I remember several occasions when I was a teenager that my own mother reminded me, "I am not your friend, I am your mother!" I recall thinking to myself that it was certainly true because no friend would treat me the way she did. We were both quite correct. Teenage friends are unlikely to tell you the truth when it is to their disadvantage to do so. Teenage friendships can be tenuous because they are fleeting often based on the consensus of several minds wildly in flux. Friends are selected by criteria and change or growth can mean the end of the relationship. Parents promote growth and stay for the good, the bad and the 2 am phone call to come pick you up because your friend took off without you phone call.
Sometimes the truth hurts. Life is always hard. "Everybody" is never going to like you. And, Elvis really is dead. What corrupts the innocence of childhood is the fact of life. We are all compelled to move forward from the fantasy to the reality. When the teenage mind recognizes this shift occurring and attempts to rationalize it, you end up with things like wearing pale white makeup, jet black hair and the monotone recital of death dirges formatted as haikus. The guidance of an adult mind, the parental mind, can make that journey from the fantasy of childhood to wonder of reality. The world that we live in has more magic than any concocted or naïve version of it could ever have.
In short, (I know, it's a little late for that) consider the lily. Then, let's consider our daughters and let them know the true beauty and wonder that they are " just as they are.
Dawn Worthy email@example.com owns Indianapolis based company Fresh From the Farm http://www.auntannsgardensoap.com with her son, Elias Worthy, at 6 years old, the youngest member of the regional MENSA. They use thought provoking articles and Aunt Ann's Garden Soap, a line of natural vegan botanical soaps to share a little green living with others.