Recently I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and I’m not just saying she’s beautiful because she is my daughter. Most strangers cannot walk past her without stopping to admire her beauty. She’s a baby that you can just fall in love with just by looking at her precious face. After realizing how beautiful and perfect she was I decided that she needed to be the next “Gerber Baby”. I started sending her pictures out to different modeling agencies. After getting a response back from a modeling agency that was interested in her, my husband finally decided to tell me that he doesn’t want her to be a model. Fine time to tell me this, after she had already been accepted and I’d gotten my hopes up. I was crushed. Didn’t he see that God had given us such a beautiful, perfect baby and I wanted to share her beauty with the world? I was complaining about this disagreement with a friend of mine and she suggested that I read a book by Dr. James Dobson titled, Hide or Seek. After reading only the first chapter I felt so convicted about putting such a high value on my daughter’s physical appearance. I knew my husband was right about the modeling issue.
In the book, Hide or Seek, Dr. Dobson talks about how society can mold our self-esteem by placing such an emphasis on physical beauty. “By glorifying idealized models, to which few can conform, we have created a vast army of “have nots” – born losers who are discouraged with life before it really begins” (pg. 23). “[In our society] not everyone is deemed worthy, not everyone is accepted. Instead, we reserve our praise and admiration for a select few who have been blessed from birth with the characteristics we value most highly” (pg. 23). “Without question, the most highly valued personal attribute in many cultures is physical attractiveness. Accordingly, the personal worth of a newborn infant is anxiously evaluated by parents as they examine the little body and its accessories” (pg. 27). Research studies found that, “When shown a set of children’s pictures and asked to identify the one who probably misbehaved, adults most often choose the least attractive child” (pg. 38). “Most children are able to determine the relative worth of their physical arrangement by the time they enter kindergarten” (pg. 33). Dr. Dobson spoke with a thirty-six year old man who told him that he was five years old when he realized he was ugly, and was never the same since then. This man’s entire personality had been shaped (distorted) by that awful realization (pg. 33). The media tells us that, “If you’re not beautiful, you don’t matter” (pg. 41). Dobson tells a story of a farmer who found an eagle that had one of its legs caught in a steel trap. Despite the weight of the trap and the pain, the bird had flown many miles until it was too exhausted to fly any further. “Low self-esteem is like that. You can fly with it for a while, but it weighs you down. And unless you, or someone else, can find a way to deal with it-to remove that trap-it will ground you and possibly lead to your destruction” (pg. 21).
Luckily there is hope and value for all us ordinary, average looking people. We are worth everything to God regardless of our physical appearance, our intellect, or our social status. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16. There is no prerequisite we need to fulfill or criteria we need to meet in order for this verse to be true for us. The Bible says God so loved “the world”. That means each and every one of us. If you’re struggling with low self-esteem or want to learn how you can help build your children’s self-esteem I strongly suggest reading Dr. Dobson’s book Hide or Seek.