If there is one issue we see girls struggle with in our counseling offices, it is self-esteem. They can be five years old or fifty. They can have brown hair, blond hair, red hair, even purple hair—the faces are different, but the core issue is the same. Girls simply don’t feel like they measure up. It may be mean girls that tell them they’re not accepted. It may be other adults who set a standard they can’t meet. But, unfortunately, these external voices become internal, and girls criticize themselves much more than anyone else ever could.
And so what do we do as adults? We encourage them. We tell them how wonderful and smart and funny and brilliant they are. And they are. And we need to. And, as counselors, we would say it truly does help to speak words of truth and life into the lives of girls. You may potentially be the only one who ever gives her a picture of the way God really sees her. But, often, when you stop encouraging, she stops believing.
More and more statistics are saying that, when a person gives of themselves, they feel better about themselves, as a result. As usual, the Bible illustrated this idea first. 1 John 3:17-19 in The Message gives very specific instructions on how to stop the self-criticism that is so rampant in girls today. Give. As they begin to see that their lives can make a difference, that they can reach out and help someone else, they feel better about themselves. They matter…which is the very idea we were talking to these 7th and 8th graders about at a recent Mother/Daughter conference. And it is also the idea that will soon be flooding the lives of children on mission trips and helping with summer camps across the world this summer.
As adults, we can make a difference in the lives of girls as we give them the opportunity to see that they matter…that God can use who they are and all that we see that He has gifted them with to touch the heart of someone else.