Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Princess and the Kiss

I recently fell in love with a new book. Well, I'm not sure how new it is - but it's new to me. While at a Christian homeschool convention a few weekends ago, I was looking for a book to read to my oldest daughter. Angelina loves pretending to be a princess but it's gotten to the point where she has been totally consumed with the "commercialized" princess. I worry about this. She is obsessed with how she looks and she's only 4 1/2. She is constantly dressing up and saying "now I'm beautiful" or "don't I look so pretty?" I try to tell her she is already beautiful and what makes her beautiful is that she has a good heart in which Jesus lives. I don't know - I try to steer her away from all that superficial stuff but it's so hard to fight the constant battle of what the media conveys and what certain members of the family tell her.

Another part that worries me is that she is obsessed with finding her "prince" and kissing him. I found a cute book that detailed other aspects of being a princess but I wasn't sure whether or not it was the right one. Then I came upon this children's book called The Princess and the Kiss (A Story of God's Gift of Purity) by Jennie Bishop. The real message of it might be a little "old" for her but I feel like it's never too early to start ingraining in our children how important purity is. Besides, this book just talks about kissing, which I think is pretty appropriate for this particular issue with Angelina. It is perfect for the early years of our teaching our children about their purity.

The first time I read the book, I didn't really read the whole thing. I was standing at the book cart, leafing through it, trying to skim quickly - and I missed most of it. But I liked the idea of it and thought what I had read was good. So I impulsively bought it. I have to say, I feel like it's one of the best impulse buys I've ever participated in! It wasn't like a last-minute candy bar at the check-out line where the immediate gratification of chocolatey sweetness lasts for only moments and then you're left with no long-term [good] affects. This book feels like something with some weight to it, something that gratifies on so many levels.

Angelina loves reading any stories about princesses. So that was my "in." She wouldn't understand that I want to talk to her about how important her first kiss is or that she should save any of that until she is married. But she does understand princesses, and their search for their prince. The book is written in such a way that it doesn't overwhelm the child with things she may or may not understand. And, the illustrations are beautiful. One of my favorite parts about it is that there is a message, however slight, that she doesn't need a prince. When the princess of the story asks her mother, the queen, if she will ever find a man she can give her kiss to, her mother wisely says "I think God will bring a husband to you. But, if He does not, the kiss will be yours to treasure forever." And that not only reassures the princess that either way, she will not miss out on anything, it also helps her to trust in God more and cherish her kiss even deeper.

This is definitely a book I won't leave out for the kids to play with. I keep it up high, safe away from markers and crayons and page-ripping hands.

The first time I read the entire thing, I was actually reading it to Aidan. I think it's just as important for him as a boy to understand the gift of purity, and the story actually has a man in it who has saved his first kiss as well. As I finished the book this first time, I cried. There is so much to such a simple children's book and I was overwhelmed with its message, because of my own broken past.

As Angel and I read it together, I am hopeful that she'll just know that the message it is conveying is right. That even if she doesn't fully understand now, it will be the start of a seed growing in her heart to always think of her purity as a God-given and priceless gift that should be saved for the man she is to marry. As for her dressing up and pretending to be a princess, I don't find much harm in her pretending a little bit. She looks so cute in her little princess outfits anyway! I just have to allow her the room to use her imagination at the same time as not letting it wander too far. She is my little princess, after all, and part of being her mother is giving her wise advice and a clear direction to get her safely to the arms of her one true Prince - Jesus.

"Love....comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." ~ 1 Timothy 1:5 NIV