I see fairy tales different now. I have a 7 year old daughter who loves them and dreams of being in one. On one hand, it’s adorable…and on the other it is scary.
I was reading to my daughter from her book of princess stories, reading the classic Cinderella. I found myself editing it as I read it to her…the language it used to describe the evil stepmother and sisters…the words to describe Cinderella’s beauty and words that showed why the prince noticed her. I was sadden.
First, my daughter doesn’t look like Cinderella and the words used to describe her fair skin and blonde hair would never be the ones to describe my daughter. And if she dreams of looking the part, she will be wounded over and over by her inability.
Second, this story written for young ears was already encouraging her to judge others and feel competition between the other sisters in the story. Why are we surprised by how much drama is in the life of a girl? She is taught to be dramatic.
Don’t get me started on the message about the role of the mother in a life of a girl…and the role of her father. Maybe this is the most honest part of this story, in how a broken family produces broken hearts. (But I’ve met great blended families – who must hate the sting of the word step-mother.)
And the Prince…where would poor Cinderella be without him. Hmph!
My daughter loves this story. And I will continue to read it to her…and continue to edit it until she can catch on that I am changing the words.
But I will teach her the pain and suffering that will come with princess dreams and I will point her to the truth and the power of being a daughter of the King.
I know that it’s just words but I think it is way more powerful and truthful to call our girls – daughters of the King rather than princesses.
Daughters of the King- belong in the family and function as a member of a family.
Princesses- are served and waited on.
We get frustrated by the drama and struggles that happen in the life of our girls…and I am sure merely adjusting the words wouldn’t change the story.
Words are a beginning of a bigger movement. A movement to raise a generation of girls who follow and serve their King. Girls who don’t find their identity in their physical bodies but instead find their identity in their Father.
Girls who don’t find distrust in their fellow “sisters” but instead find friends and partners in service of their King.
Girls who don’t define their future in the hurt of their family but find healing in the family of God.
Girls who don’t search for a prince to sweep them off their feet but who find joy in singleness or in marriage.
I don’t want to encourage princess dreams. I want to encourage us to live the story of daughters…daughters of the King.
It doesn’t end with words but it can start. Today I’ll tell my daughter of her perfect heavenly Father. Today I’ll tell the girls in my life about his perfect acceptance of them as his daughter. Tomorrow, we’ll work to live it out together.
Do our words matter? I would love to hear your thoughts!