Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raising a Queen - Not a Princess

It all started a few months ago when the landlord came over to fix our ceiling in our kitchen (the hilarity in the fact that my post about princesses starts off with my landlord is too much for me to bare). He brought his handyman with him the first day, the the second day they both brought their kiddos. The handyman told me on the first day, "Oh, I have a little girl who's outgrown so many of her toys, I'll bring em over for your girls to play with tomorrow" It was very sweet of him, and I could tell he very much missed when his girl was tiny, so I didn't object. What happened the next morning was a hurricane of pink and sparkles that I couldn't even imagine all on my own. Barbie herself would have probably been a little overwhelmed. Lily had just gone to a  birthday party a few days before-her first princess party- and had been running around with this tiara on night and day since then.

So here was this sweet girl unloading Barbies, Polly Pockets, those spinning flying fairie things (oh yeah, they still make em!!) and a million tiny shoes, bracelets, necklaces, LIPSTICKS (wtf does a three year old need lipstick for?!) and whatever other tiny plastic slave made products targeted at little girls you can imagine.

Lily was in heaven.

And while the handyman's eyes glittered watching his little girl share her much loved toys, and Lily dressed Norah in 3 crowns (she kept saying "NOR!!! You such a pretty KING!!" ), an apron, high heels, and some Mardi Gras beads (...I know.)  I sat by, politely(ish) staring in horror. My ceiling couldn't have been finished quickly enough. As soon as they were gone, I let the girls pick a handful of things, from a few things I picked out that were okay (things that could be used for dress up/pretend play, and could have all branding/characters taken off) and packed the rest in a box for Goodwill. Practically speaking, no child needs that many toys. Of any kind. Ever. In the history of the world.

A few more days go by and we have some friends over for dinner. They have a girl Lily's age and a boy Norah's age and everyone seems to be getting along splendidly. Until the witching hour (ahem, past their bedtimes) approaches. And then it happens. One little girl starts crying, and then they are both crying (Lily and her friend are both overly sensitive and have a flair for the dramatic) and it's time for parents to sort through the hugs, spit, tears, and tangles to find out what happened.

It all came down to Greedy McLily Pants. Apparently the bajilion crowns that I decided to keep (for the express purpose of having plenty to share with her friends when they came over) were simply not enough for Princess Possessive to share. Eamon got down on her level and said

"Lily, we can share your crowns so you and your friend can both be happy, or you can keep your crowns, be in trouble, and have your friend be sad."

Lily, without a second thought answered the question over and over

"I want her to be sad."

Well. That's that. She cared more about this piece of plastic than her friends' happiness.
So, daddy took away all the crowns, and in the trash they went. (This is where we look like the psycho parents...whatevs) Lily cried and cried and cried, but she understood.

The whole ordeal got me really thinking about "Princesses"

What did I "know" about princesses as a child?
They were entitled to all that was good from birth. Their defiance and feelings for a boy that resulted in disobedience (specifically against their father) was always justified. Their mother (if even around, let's face it, Disney loves dead mothers for some reason) never understood her heart, nor did she want any good to come to her. Her heart attitude was not an issue, because even if all of her beautiful clothes were taken away, as long as she believed she was beautiful (because that's what makes a princess) that she would get all of her beautiful things back.

So when Lily a few days later found a stow away tiara and paraded around the house saying "LOOK, I A PRINCESS!" Eamon and I quickly stopped her and told her "No, you are not a princess because you are wearing a crown."

We sat her down and told her what a princess is.
A princess is a King & a Queen's daughter. That is all that she is.
What does she do?
She trains to be a queen. She is under her mother's watch to learn how to be a Queen, if not over the kingdom she is in, the one she will rule over one day. She learns her manners, learns how to treat the people in her community, learns to oversee the affairs of her home, is shown how to properly serve her King, and also how to rule in the King's absence.

As I am explaining all of these Kingly duties to my wide eyed little girl, I realize I am my daughter's Queen. That these responsibilities lay on my shoulders. That she is a princess, and that while she is in no way entitled to any earthly inheritance, she is promised a Kingdom of everlasting life with the most glorious King who has ever reigned! Our Heavenly Father! Oh how my heart sang thinking of preparing my child to rule the godly kingdom of her one day home, all to serve the greater Kingdom of Heaven.

While the weight of the materialism that is the "American/Disney Princess" is a little less intense, my desire to teach my girls the value of this verse:

"Your adornment must not be merely external -braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God"
1 Peter 3:4-5

is only amplified. My desire to see Proverbs 31 women (a most Godly queen under the Lord) come up out of my home makes my giddy with excitement.

Hope you're having a fantastic week,

***I absolutely do not want this to make any of my mom friends who disagree with this, or just haven't thought about this issue like this to think I think less of you, or don't want our girls playing together, or that you have to hide the Cinderella dresses when we come over, just don't expect to find them while you're here ;]***

1 comment:

Shi said...

I love this post. So much. While it does it make me feel (slightly) less crazy for not doing the standard "princess thing" and avoiding the "plastic toy epidemic" with our 16 month old daughter, the beauty of what you said about you being the queen your daughter is watching and learning from resonates within my own spirit.
What AM I teaching her (my daughter) about love, grace, compassion, patience...?
Thank you for sharing this :-)