A second hand story was told to me yesterday about Ellie, our granddaughter. Her latest insistence to her mom and dad is that she be called “The Princess” or “The Cinderella”. “A princess” or simply “Princess” will not do, it must be preceded by the word “The”. In fact, these are the only forms of address to which she will respond.
Lee and I find this very amusing. Tim and Jen are not raising a daughter who is low in self esteem. In fact, because of her immense security, Ellie feels very free to be an individual. Jen was determined that Ellie would not be a stereotypical princess, fluffy, into all things pink, and super feminine. In the wry humor of our creator, Ellie is exactly all of these things.
Jen with her cheerful and practical approach to life has not only adjusted to these traits in Ellie, but also, she has promoted that individual personhood which is Ellie.
It is interesting to me that Ellie is so adamant about this princess thing. Yet, I wonder if it is not a need in each of us to recognize ourselves as the daughter or son of the King. We each need to know how special and loved we are. We need to love ourselves as that very unique person.
Ellie is also interesting, as an almost 3 year old, in that she is able to care about what is going on with others to a remarkable degree. When I saw Ellie last during the week before Thanksgiving, I was only a few weeks post breast surgery. Ellie, as any toddler would do, often bumped into my chest, pushed off, or leaned her head there. I would reactively grunt or say “ouch”. Ellie’s first reaction was to say “Don’t say ouch when I am giving you loving.”
Later, when she was in the bathroom after I had taken a shower, she saw my scars. She did not say anything then. However, when I was dressed and sitting on the couch, she brought a scarf (the one wrapped around her head in the picture above) and draped it over my chest saying,”There, it will be fine.”
When I saw her a week later at a family wedding her first words to me were,”Are your boobs feeling better?” This seems pretty remarkable thinking and behavior for a not quite 3 year old.
Don’t we all need this kind of balance? We must truly know who we are and be secure with that– we are royalty, sons and daughters of the King of all creation. Yet, we must be more centered on God and others than ourselves. This will result in right boundaries–we can insist on being addressed and treated as valuable. It can also be a precursor to an “I am not the center of the universe” attitude. Ellie may not have totally arrived at that place that yet, but she is off to a good start.
“And a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6. There is much we can learn from observing a child.