Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Monday, May 21, 2012


The last month I've had the joy of traveling with jr. high and high school students to their spring retreats at Camp Johnsonburg in north Jersey. Driving in the church van means silly jokes, youth screeching for no apparent reason, bathroom stops, strange food smells, and listening to pop radio.

One of the songs that has caught the imagination of our youth is "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction:

It's a catchy song, and I like the first part of the lyrics--they're sweet like pie:
You're insecure
Don't know what for
You're turning heads when you walk through the door
Don't need make up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough
Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you
Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
You don't know
Oh Oh
You don't know you're beautiful
If only you saw what I can see
You'll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
You don't know
Oh oh
You don't know you're beautiful
Oh oh
That's what makes you beautiful's where I say "Oh oh" as in uh, oh. "That's what makes you beautiful"? As in the fact that the girl doesn't know she is beautiful is what makes her beautiful?

I think it's true that a lot of our girls don't know that they are beautiful. And I'm all for saying to someone "You light up my world like nobody else." But what I want girls to know is that it's okay--no, it's GREAT--if they figure out that they are beautiful. Girls and women do not lose their beauty when they figure out that they are beautiful. In fact, figuring out that we are beautiful and carrying ourselves accordingly is a necessary survival skill in this world.

I want girls to know that they don't have to look at the ground and make themselves small in order to be beautiful. I want them to know that many of us in this world will celebrate when they discover their beauty. I want them to know that knowing they are beautiful does not make them stuck up, arrogant, or bitchy. I want them to know that knowing they are beautiful does not make them ugly, and that any person who values their insecurity as a sign of beauty is someone they can leave behind without shame.

A while back I wrote a guest post called "Elbow Room". It was a post about learning to take up more space in this world--learning to know I am beautiful and how to claim that space. If there's anything I want for the girls I work with, it's that they learn to know they are beautiful. What makes them beautiful is not their downcast eyes or their insecurity. What makes them beautiful is simply that they ARE beautiful, and no boy band or human or constrictive gender stereotype can take that away from them.


  1. Preach it! As a teen, I didn't think I was beautiful, which made me susceptible to the first boy (who turned out to be a jerk) who told me I was.

    thank you for this post.


  2. I actually talked to my 2 girls about this song a couple weeks ago. Here was my take on it:

    There's a difference between knowing you're beautiful and acting like you're more beautiful than the people around you. It's not a matter of acting insecure, but a matter of balancing how you feel about yourself with how you treat those around you.

    Even if that's not the intent of the song-writer, that's the meaning my girls and I have given the song.


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