Tag Archive | Who exactly is Cinderella?

Cindrella Rules – Part 1

As Christian parents my husband and I try to teach our daughter that life has rules.  There are “house rules” where our boundaries and expectations for her behavior are defined.  There are “school rules” that the school and/or board of education have determined will do the same for her school behavior and actions.  Even her Sunday School class has rules.  When she grows up and is old enough to have a job outside the house that job will come with rules.  Games have rules.  So do beauty pageants.

My husband & I had quite a few adversions to the whole beauty pageant “thing”.  All the material that came home from school kept emphasizing “age appropriateness” for dress and make-up.  So we agreed to the $40 entry fee and the $10 photogenic contest entry fee, and filled in the necessary paperwork.

She and I found a simple dress that had enough “bling” for her with its red sequins & that seemed age appropriate.  She borrowed some jewelry from me, wore a pair of her Sunday shoes and her oldest cousin prepared our little girl for her first beauty pageant.

After watching the final rehearsal (the only one parents were allowed to be at) I felt better about our decision to let our daughter enter.  At their age the stage rules were simple, consisting of  “the walk” with three turns and an escort on and off the stage.  In their regular school clothes and minus the “bling” and make-up all the girls seemed to be on a level competition field.  When one girls shoes caused her to fall the vice principal had the PTSO president call the girl’s mother right away and request she wear different shoes.  Yes, I thought, this will be good for our daughter’s self-esteem and hopefully fun too.

Two nights later our initial apprehensions seemed mild compared to what we witnessed.  First, all those age appropriateness rules were the first ones broken.  Shoes, make-up, dresses, hair, jewelry – these girls weren’t dressed as girls, they were dressed as Miss America contestants!  Kindergarten girls tottered on high heels beneath the weight of dresses bigger than they were!  Sixth graders looked like seniors in high school. (Apparently I should have watched “Toddlers & Tiara’s”!)

Second, that simple walk with its three turns?  Only a souple of girls just walked the walk they’d been taught.  Those girls with “pageant experince” worked the walk.  Also clear was that when it came to investment of monies we had fallen way short of the mark.

We had one dress, our daughter was going to wear that dress.  We had one pair of shoes, those were the shoes she was going to wear.  My mouth gaped open seeing mothers who struggled in the wind and rain to haul in three or four dresses, a bag of shoes and enough make-up cases for a LA runway.  We live in a rural area, few people have “wealth” and I knew some of those families were struggling financially as we were with the economy.

I felt totally naive and a bit less than intelligent.  As a parent I wondered why I hadn’t “foreseen” the “way it would be” instead of believing it would be as it appeared on paper.

Our daughter didn’t place.  Her “Princess” experience ended quickly.  Her inexperience  as a pageant contendor was evident.  However, she played by the rules.  Her dress, shoes, make-up and hair were age appropriate.  She did her walk as she was instructed to do.  She was beautiful.  She still “lost”!

To be continued:

Cindrella Rules Part 2

Continued from Cinderella Rules Part 1

It isn’t easy as a parent to see your child disappointed and even worse when you know part of the reason they are disappointed is because of your own naivety.  Yet even though I hated seeing my daughter hurt I knew we were learning a “life lesson”.  In any thing or arena of life there are rules.  Learning how to work the rules in your favor can be one of those “fine line” issues.  I’m sure no one in that pageant thought they were “breaking the rules” and I can’t be their conscience to say either way.

I can only feel confident that as I put our princess to bed that night we hadn’t done anything of which God would be displeased with, that her understanding of being self-disciplined enough to follow the rules regardless of whether you win or lose is important and that some outcomes in life aren’t determined by what is within your control.

God’s word tells us that it will sometimes seem as though the wicked are prospering on earth while the righteous suffer.  I can’t begin to compare losing an elementary school beauty pageant to the wider scale ways it seems that evil is winning in this world, it does seem like a small example.   Plus, some of the contestants we knew were believers and no doubt had prayed, as our child had, to win.

“You are always righteous O Lord, when I bring a case before you.  Yet I would speak with you about your justice:  Why does the way of the wicked prosper?  Why do all the faithless live at ease?  You have planted them and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit.  You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.  Yet you know me, O Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you.”  Jeremiah 11: 1-3a

Really that’s what it should be about.  Not questioning another’s motivations but our own in the mirror of God’s word.  As the world looks at us what do they see?  Anything different?  It seems that whether we be Christian or not we never stop wanting more “stuff”, even with an economic turn down some people are still obsessed with their stuff (keeping it mainly).  We still wear our masks.  We’re still responding to circumstances that do not go our way in a sour way.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe every female deserves one night on the runway of life where she is absolutely at her best.  For some that “Cinderella” moment is the glamour route.   For others it may be pulling the family together to think creatively of ways to cut the family expenses to save the family home or helping her children understand why selling their home is the right thing to do.  Still for others it may be being the one who presents the “winning” plan, gets the promotion” or walks out the door on a bad job believing God will provide.

When we first encounter Cinderella she is basically a servant in rags to people who care nothing for her.  No, her future doesn’t look rosy, and it seems even during the briefest of moments when the mice show her the dress they’ve remade for her that wickedness is just going to win.  No, Cinderella had maybe six hours of being a princess before again we’re led to believe she lost it all.  But she kept going and a miracle happened her foot was the only one to not only fit the glass slipper she was the only one able to produce a matching original.  Of course Cinderella is purely a fairy tale, fairy Godmothers do not appear to save the day and my first thought on glass slippers is how sweaty they must be.  God doesn’t operate with hocus-pocus!  However, He does say this:

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation that is common to man has seized you except what is common to man  And Good is faithful he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear  But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Our daughter has already decided she wants to enter next years pageant (her parents haven’t though).  I doubt anything will have changed with the pageant.  Truthfully I’d rather her find her Cinderella moment in a different vein so soon we’ll have to make the pageant decision all over again.  I’d rather her find her Cinderella moment in a different venue and while I hope she fulfills her dreams who am I to say when or how each woman’s Cinderella moment arrives?

How about you, truthfully, what was or would be YOUR Cinderella moment?