Boy, this is tough. I have a confession. Whew. Ok, here goes. I have been insecure about the way I look since forever. You aren’t surprised are you? Most women share those feelings. As author Jennifer Dukes Lee put it, “We tell ourselves that we’re not enough – or we let our bathroom scales tell us that we’re too much.” If this was the mindset of only a few, the diet and beauty industries wouldn’t be generating between $50 and $60 billion dollars a year! Each!
I could tell you stories about what I believe caused the genesis of my flimsy self-esteem, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole. What’s important to me now is helping my daughter avoid the pitfalls of misplaced self worth. So I jumped at the chance (actually sat in my favorite chair with a cup of tea) to read and review Confident Moms, Confident Daughters: Helping Your Daughter Live Free from Insecurity and Love How She Looks by Maria Furlough.
In the first chapter, the author despells any notion that becoming confident is important simply for its own sake. As believers in Christ, anything good in us comes from God and God alone. Furlough tells us that “security is in us. It always has been. When we think insecure thoughts or act on our lack of self-confidence, we make the decision to hand our security away.” And “confidence in who we are as God’s beautiful creations protects us from harming ourselves and others.” I personally made many unhealthy decisions and gave myself over to risky behaviors and relationships in the quest to feel attractive.
The author’s premise is that in order to instill confidence in our daughters, we moms have to be secure in how we look. And although I agree with this, Furlough’s methods are a little too hokey and simplistic for me. She advises making lists of things we love about ourselves and having mirror pep talks telling ourselves that we are beautiful. Although Psalm 139 is a great place to remind ourselves of our worth in our Heavenly Father’s eyes, saying some of those things into a mirror feels a little insincere to me. And so does a fake it ’til you believe it strategy.
The book includes an interview with a pediatrician who advises us to eat “5-2-1-0”. Five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, two hours max of screen time, one hour of active time and the zero stands for limiting things such as sugary drinks. This is fabulous advice, but looks like zero teenagers I actually know.
Furlough states that we as moms are the confidence standards in our home. I believe this is absolutely true up until the teenage years. By that point (according to an expert source that I can’t for the life of me remember but promise I read) parents are in the fourth place of influence for their children. We lag behind friends, the culture at large, and other authority figures such as teachers and youth ministers. So while I agree that the stuff we continue to carry around, we pass down to our girls, there are also many other balls in play.
Even if we could end our own obsession with physical beauty, society’s obsession rages on. And that voice is strong for my fourteen year old. What this book gets so right, though, is that true beauty comes from within. We wear ourselves out when we focus primarily on the physical, because there will always be someone prettier. “No matter what we do, say, eat, crunch, or tuck we will never become beautiful enough to fix our confidence problem…Our only hope is healing from the inside out.”
We, unfortunately, have an enemy that whispers constantly in our ears that we aren’t good enough. Our daughters hear it and we hear it. We can only counteract the negative with God’s truth. He never intended us all to have the same size noses or the same color complexions or the same size jeans (genes). He poured His creativity all over us.
After reading this book and giving it plenty of thought, I think we moms of girls have three action items here. First, to pray to the God of miracles for supernatural confidence. Second, to use our words and actions to help our kids appreciative the unique and beautiful ways God made them. And three, pray some more and ask God to cover over the many mistakes we will make with our words and actions.
The end of each chapter of this book lists “Confident Daughter Discussion Questions”. My daughter and I have been working our way through them at the table after dinner each night. We are having the best, most valuable discussions! (See the second action point above.) I would pay the cover price many times over for these exchanges with my girl.
Your turn. Do you have any advice for nurturing more confidence in yourself or those under your influence? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.
Revell Books generously provided me with a copy of this book for the purposes of review. All thoughts and opinions, unless otherwise stated, are my own.
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Martha J Orlando says
Reading this makes me wish I could do everything over with my now grown daughter, though she truly hasn’t turned out badly at all. I thank God for that!
Thanks for this review, Lauren, and blessings!
I think God can work even our well intentioned parental flub ups for good.
Probably too late for me since my daughter is grown up now. But maybe useful for mentoring?
coming from Ohmyheartsie
Yes. And useful to get us thinking about our own worth in the Lord.
Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook says
Mandy, it’s never too late to tell your grown-up daughter that you admire something about her! Years ago, I heard my great-uncle say casually to his 40-something daughter, “What a lovely blouse, honey–it brings out your pretty blue eyes,” and she just kind of melted, and later told me, “Now that my dad’s retired, he sometimes says things like that. It used to seem like he was always too busy to see me!”
Yvonne Chase says
What makes me so confident is my ability to stand strong after all I’ve gone through. With every trial with every tribulation, I get stronger and stronger and that is a total boost to my overall confidence. Plus I happen to like myself. God really put me together in a special way and he didn’t make a mistake. I choose daily to believe everything he says about me and that in and of itself is the best confidence booster. Also, telling the truth, telling your truth builds confidence.
I love this Yvonne! You are beautifully and wonderfully made and we are blessed that you shared here with us.
Beth Steffaniak says
Even though that statistic indicates that parents are fourth in line of influence in a teen’s life, I tend to feel as if the other three before us are not as “powerful” or “enduring.” I say that as an empty-nester who is seeing the power of both the positive as well as the negative influences my husband and I had on our boys when they were in their teens. It might not show up right away, but I bet that living out these principles before your daughter will certainly influence her much more than you can see right now, Lauren! At least that’s been my experience. Hope it encourages you! And thanks for sharing this review! I’ll be pinning for sure!
That is encouraging, Beth. Thank you.
Patsy Burnette says
This sounds like a great book, Lauren! Thank you for the heads up. I had not heard of it before. I think you’re beautiful! 🙂
Tweeted & pinned.
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Awww. Thanks, Patsy. And thank you for sharing.
Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook says
Thanks for giving such a balanced review! Too often, bloggers rave about how great a book is and don’t acknowledge that it has any flaws. I appreciate seeing that there were parts that seemed too simplistic or unrealistic to you but also that the discussion questions are so helpful!
My pleasure. Thanks for reading, Becca.
I echo what Becca said. It’s good to hear of both a book’s helpfulness and also whether the reviewer agrees with everything. I noted you said the questions to get you and your girl talking was worth the price many times over. My girls are grown now, but I sure would have enjoyed having some help getting them to talk about things in their teen years!
It is a challenge, but worth the effort! Thanks, Jerralea.
Shelbee on the Edge says
Great post, Lauren! The confidence conundrum is a big one for sure. And you are so right that even when we can manage to sometimes find our own self-confidence, society at large is going to take a lot longer to shift its perspective. We live in a generation now where I see body confidence being pushed out all over social media, yet we still all struggle with our bodies. We can look at someone else’s “imperfect” body and see all the beauty, but when we look at ourselves, we continue to focus on “flaws”. You do have a challenge on your hands raising a daughter, but I am certain that you will instill so much love and goodness in her that her beauty will shine so bright and will give her all the confidence she needs.
Thank you, Shelbee. You are such an encourager and I really appreciate it. It feels like a losing battle at times – for myself and helping my daughter. But I just keep praying and doing the best I can.