Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pretty girl must be more than that

My daughter is beautiful.

Pretty girl must be more than that

My daughter is beautiful.

This is not bloated dad-talk. She is, by every objective standard of judgment, a gorgeous kid.

On the flight back from Guatemala, where she was adopted, a flight attendant begged to hold the then-8-month-old, then paraded the child up and down the cabin. People gawked and smiled.

It’s been that way ever since. Just the other day, during trick-or-treating, neighbors seemed to be giving her extra candy, based on her looks.

This is a problem.

How do you teach a child not to rely on pretty face when she already knows – by the constant acclamation of others – how lovely she is? It’s not that she’s conceited. Far from it. But it’s not hard, even for a youngster, to understand the power that beauty conveys in our culture.

When I speak with her, I emphasize her smarts, her math skills, her kind heart, her memory (stunningly accurate), and her other attributes. I will tell her that she looks nice, but only after she’s cleaned and dressed herself (to impart important daddy lessons of hygiene and self-reliance).

For many parents, a child’s looks are a reflection of them. But an adoptive dad cannot take credit for his daughter’s room-lighting smile. Two attractive Central Americans made my baby the way she is.

There is, of course, a practical part of me that knows that beautiful people get ahead in life – better pay, more frequent promotions, deferential treatment, etc. How could a father not want those things for his kid?

Well, because he doesn’t want a vain woman to sprout from the pretty girl. Let her work for her success, let her fight like the rest of us.

Then she’ll be accomplished. And lovely.

 

 

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
A New York City native, Lubrano has written for newspapers since 1980. He's the author of a book, "Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams," and was a commentator for National Public Radio for 16 years. His work has appeared in various national magazines and anthologies. He lives with his daughter in South Jersey, and has worked for the Inquirer since 1995. Reach Alfred at alubrano@phillynews.com.

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
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