This is an article I wrote last year for preteenministry.net. My daughter is now 10 and growing faster than ever.
I don’t think there is anyone that has not heard the song “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. If you missed hearing the song all you have to do is turn on any hit music radio station and you will hear it.
The other day I was driving my 9-year old daughter to school and the song came on the radio.
When I first comprehended what my little princess was singing…
…..“I have the boom boom that all the boys chase and all the right junk in all the right places” I wanted to scream…stop growing up!!
Please stay little and innocent a few more years!
I had heard the song before and had been impressed with the message that it was sending to young girls about self-image. Because let’s face it, I’m not a size two and never will be.
But as I was listening to my little girl sing the song I wondered about her self-image.
My daughter is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met and she has an amazing heart for God. I can tell her that over and over again but it’s the one person that tells her the opposite that she’s going to remember…unfortunately.
It seems that girls are discovering insecurity about self-image earlier than ever.
My little girl is starting to recognize differences between herself and other girls. She has started to see the world’s definition of beauty.
Is it even possible to live up to the standard of beauty that the media defines?
With Photoshop and other editing software it is easy to transform regular looking people into true beauties with just a bit of airbrushing and touch-ups.
So as I continued to think about the song I decided to talk to our pre-teen and youth group girls at church to see what they thought of their self-image. And most importantly, at what age had they discovered differences between themselves and others.
Most of the kids mentioned that they started feeling more self-conscious about themselves when they entered middle school.
It’s as if the summer between 5th and 6th grade is when kids start realizing their differences.
Gone are the days of wearing tiaras and tutus to school. They are replaced with the fashionable fad of the month because it is important to “fit in”.
One girl said that she has never felt comfortable with herself.
Growing up she was always compared to her older sister and has spent her entire life trying to live up to an image that is not possible for her. She is an amazingly talented young lady who has lived her life so far having a very negative image of herself.
I pray that one day she will view herself the way God sees her.
God doesn’t make mistakes and only creates beautiful things (except for spiders…not quite sure what he was thinking with that one).
So how do we as church leaders help pre-teens develop a love for themselves?
One thing we can do is talk about it. Don’t hide behind a child’s insecurity.
Talk about this song and its’ message for girls (not that I’m condoning playing the actual song…it does have some inappropriate lines).
But if we talk about it with our students we can explain it to them. We know they are hearing it at school; as a parent I would rather explain the meaning of the song as opposed to my daughter hearing it from her friends.
We need to teach them what the Lord spoke to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”.
It would be great if we all had signs that said, “I’m a good person – I will be nice to you” or “Stay away from me – I will be mean to you”.
But since we don’t have this luxury, we are to rely on faith because only God knows a person’s true heart.
Another idea would be to explain what the Bible says regarding our appearance and differences.
We are all made in God’s image and Jesus personally cares about all of us.
An important issue for a pre-teen group would be to always create a haven of acceptance within the group.
We need to enforce to our kids how we, as Christians, are different than the world. In the church, we need to learn acceptance of everyone.
So Miss Trainor I want to personally thank you for writing your song about a very important message regarding self-image.
This morning while we were on our way to school, “All About That Bass” came on the radio again.
My daughter, while dressed in her tiara and tutu (I’m not joking), was singing along.
I found myself singing along with her and as we came to the line repeated often, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”, I looked in my rearview mirror and I said a prayer for her and for all other girls her age.
I prayed that she will always remember those words and remember that God feels exactly the same way about each and every one of us…
….every inch of us is perfect from the bottom to the top.