If you’ve been following my blog recently you know I’ve been participating in “Beautiful Like Me.” It’s a project started by a fellow blogger, Wicked Stepmom, that challenges those participating to dissect different factors that contribute to poor self-esteem in kids. You can read more about the project here. My first two contributions to this project were
“Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery, but…”
Both topics were tough and took a while to work through. Today’s topic is no exception. In fact, I think the questions seem to get harder as we go along. Not because I have no ideas of what to write. To the contrary, my mind seems to swim with thoughts and potential responses. The challenge is in making it count. The more I contribute to this project, the more it matters to me to get it right. Its importance and the revelations participants have the potential to collectively make are on the forefront of my mind.
Today’s topic: What features/qualities would we like today’s children to see as beautiful?
My knee jerk response to this question is to say I would be happy if kids saw humanity as beautiful. Sounds simple, but we may have a problem. That would require kids being consistently aware of the humanity in us all. It’s not that they are incapable, but I suspect popular culture is grooming them to notice the material instead the person. Kids are saturated with gadgets, accessories, cosmetics and celebrity culture. How others measure up in the above seems to determine how they are viewed on the surface. The result is a generation destined to follow, compelled to copy and motivated to spend their way to self-appreciation.
Now, does this mean kids view their Razor phones and Paris Hilton sunglasses as beautiful? I’d like to think not. Perhaps it’s more beauty not being a focus. They talk about what is cool, hot, awesome and pretty. Beauty doesn’t seem to come up all that often. Our kids are moving a mile a minute. Judgments are made in haste with eyes trained to notice decorations.
The failure to see the humanity in each other, and arguably in ourselves, could very well be the catalyst for the growing discontent many seem to feel. The heart knows there is more to existence than all of this superficial garbage. It nags at the brain by churning an inner desire to be ourselves in all of our unique glory. The brain wants to believe, but it has to overcome the growing fear what is unique and real won’t be acceptable. It has reason to doubt as it has been bombarded by messages of what is falsely important and ideal.
If it were up to me, I’d like kids to find diversity, courage, strength, compassion, love and nature beautiful. I’d like them to fall hopelessly in love with the rare individuals amongst us who are able to show their raw emotions in times when others may expect them to present a stiff upper lip. There is beauty in what is genuine. There is beauty in what is real. When I think of a beautiful person, I’m more inclined to think of those who have touched me in some deep and compelling way. Their actions gave me pause and helped me to see a greater meaning in life. Trinkets, decorations, pomp and bravado just don’t take me there. Usually what touched me was just part of that person being them. It’s not like they were doing something for my benefit. By some blessing from above, I was allowed to witness a moment, long or short, of humanity at its best.