In every city and every town, little girls are born into loving families. They are watched as they twirl and giggle by proud parents who are completely sure that no other little girl on earth is as beautiful, smart, clever, or talented as their little one. She starts out in pink and lace, and remains their fairy princess.
Sometimes the mothers see their little girls as extensions of themselves. She exceeds their expectations...so they attempt to make sure that her every wish is granted. Birthday parties that not only celebrate, but are events. Gifts are not only to express love, but to impress.
So, the little girl grows up to believe that in her little world, she is the center. She smiles, and mountains move. She is supported, dolled up, and doted on. She asks...and she expects to receive.
As she grows up, her view of how it all works changes to that of a giant pie. She begins to understand that she is not the only princess in the world. She knows the slice that she can claim of the pie, and she figures out a strategy to gain a bigger piece.
Her beauty, talent, personality, family standing, intelligence, belief system, and choices determine the size of the slice of a "pie" that seems to be finite and so incredibly delicious that she cannot relinquish a sliver of it to anyone else. She is told that her high school years are important...and so she battles to keep her position.
These battles are fierce, and any mother of a girl is familiar with the fallout. A girl is beautiful...so rumors are made up about her choices or words she allegedly spoke. A girl has a lively personality, and instantly becomes known as a "flirt." Another is intelligent, so she is considered "weird." Any advantage that any girl has must be leveled, toppled, or skewed. Never mind whether the charge is true or not. It just chips away at her perceived bigger piece of the "pie"...in the hopes that it will soon be available for the masses to fight over.
Once graduation occurs, the realization hits that there are a lot of "pies" and an endless supply of other girls vying for a slice. There are talent "pies" and beauty "pies." Some pies are considered better than others. The beauty pie? Very popular. The responsible pie? Not as many in line. So the girls begin doing an inventory of where they stand among their peers. Some have more expendable income, nicer cars, or more permissive parents. Others have the right boyfriend, the right sorority, and the right friends. All of the wonderful qualities that the parents express pride about seem to pale in comparison...as the girls view it anyway. To them, finding true friends and escaping the "drama" that exists in abundance in the kingdom of Female seems endlessly hopeless.
Every once in a while, a girl will just throw in her slice of the "pie" and walk away from the game. She will stay on the sidelines with others who observe or simply ignore the power grabs, games, and backstabbing. As time goes on...more join her on the sidelines. And those who have been burned by the fire or knew early not to stay in the game...generally become the truly phenomenal women that end up changing the world as we know it.
It is especially heinous to watch the "pie" grab within circles or friends or within a sorority house. To see girls who should be watching each other's backs trying to stab a knife into it instead...is incredibly troubling. These girls...often with no self-respect...do all women a disservice by acting juvenile. It is even worse when it is mothers that are playing this game of knocking other young girls down...simply to elevate their daughters.
So what can be done?
Well, life is wonderful...but it isn't perfect. We all want the best for ourselves, and are disappointed when our hopes and dreams do not pan out the way that we hope. As mothers, we want this even more so for our daughters. We want them to be seen by the world as we see them...as those beautiful, perfect little princesses.
But the truth is...they need to understand that life is not easy...or fair. They need to see the beauty of life, and the ugliness that sometimes sets out to attempt to destroy it. They need to realize that most of what motivates attacks on others is fear.
Conversely, they cannot be allowed to be thrown to the ground because they are underprepared for the battle. Girls need to understand to look beyond the behavior to what motivates it. All women have to figure out their own unique strengths and gifts. They also need to know that over time...the tables turn.
The beautiful girl may never learn to develop her personality...or may use her outward beauty to reflect a kind and thoughtful soul. The intelligent girl may learn to trust herself only, or could end up with a better quality of life that enables her to pursue important dreams. The inwardly beautiful girl may bring a host of people to the foot of the cross or may be content to remain quietly in the background. The talented girl may end up inspiring others with her gifts or simply use that talent to earn a living. What we are given is half of who we are. What we do with it...is the other half.
So, as you watch your little ones mature from precious girls to productive women...teach them that what others think of them is none of their business...but to always be aware of the perceptions of others if they are in questionable territory. Teach them that the "pie" concept is an illusion...and that tearing others down will certainly not build them up. Teach them to be the friend that they would like to have, to give other people the benefit of the doubt, and to understand that the whole story isn't written yet. Make sure that they know that some of us simply grow up at different rates. The girls that they might not like today...might be the women who are their best friends tomorrow.
But above all...remind them that they are princesses...not just as girls...but as women. They are daughters of the King...and it just isn't any clearer than that. In view of that...let them twirl, wear pink, and giggle. After all...it is our birthright! Later!