Dear Middle-School Girl,

March 10, 2014 14 Comments

“What makes you beautiful?”

It’s the question I often ask first when I start talking to middle-school girls. One girl said, “inner beauty.”

I know girls don’t believe that. I know they don’t believe that inner beauty is valued in middle school. So I called their bluff. I wanted honesty – I wanted to know what others think is beautiful. The answers poured out like lava. Pretty face…nice teeth…skinny waist…nice butt…pretty eyes…full lips…long hair.

It is their truth. It is their reality And it is sad.

Forget everything you see in those mindless magazines. Forget what E! News tells you. Forget what you see when you’re watching MTV. There are two things that make you beautiful…and one day when you’re my age, you will finally realize it. Your mind and your heart. That’s what makes you beautiful. (Let me paint a picture for you…when I was in middle school, I had a frizzy perm. Pimples. Braces on my teeth larger than Texas. My nose was WAY too big for my face. My looks changed. But I am still that boisterous 12-year-old who would talk to a desk if it let me.)

Smart is sexy. It’s not about getting straight A’s…it’s not about getting a perfect score on your ACT. Smart is knowing what’s going on in the world around you. Smart is being curious and constantly asking who, what, where, why and when. Smart is recognizing what is wrong with the world and figuring out a way to fix it. Smart is waking up and knowing at least three current events. Smart is the willingness to learn new things.

Your heart. Be kind. Be compassionate.  It’s not difficult to be kind…it doesn’t cost anything. Find someone you don’t know and say hello. You don’t have to have a pajama party with them. You don’t have to sit around a campfire and tell your deepest, darkest secrets. Just say “hello.” That simple gesture will change their day…it could change their life.  Be the change. Start in the halls…in the cafeteria…on your bus. Just say “hello.” Stop spitting venom on social media. Stop being the coward who hides behind the computer screen and posts nasty comments. When you do, it says a lot about your character…about who you are.  Your reputation is the only thing you have to control in this life…and if it’s tarnished because you decided to be the mean kid…than that will be your legacy.

Let’s not sugar-coat it…you’re not going to be everyone’s friend…you’re not going to like everyone…not everyone is going to like you. But you can respect others.

Use your mind and your heart. That makes you beautiful.

You are good enough…You are beautiful enough…You are smart enough…You are strong enough. Believe it. Never let insecurity run your life.

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  1. Amen! When I was growing up I felt very plan and just ugly….it took me awhile to realize that we are all made in GOD’s Image, and he is amazing….I felt ugly I wasn’t smart or popular, but ya know what? Even though my life wasn’t perfect, I was taught to respect others, to help others, and to be kind….I to this day carry that in my heart, as I work in a kitchen at our High School….Smile, that could just make someone’s day, one never knows how often a child sees a smile….It’s not just the young one’s that need to know they are important our High School kids need to hear that too…They need to know we care, and that we care about them…..Touch a child’s heart, and they will go on to touch other hearts….wouldn’t that make our world so much better to live in? When someone is hurtful, I tell them I will pray for them, maybe they just feel so bad inside that they have to be hurtful to others, to make themselves feel good….Keep up the great work Amanda…..proud of you……a friend marian…

  2. Kelli says:

    WOW!! Thank you! Having a 13 year old daughter in middle school, this hit home. As her mother, I tell her these things over and over. But I’m “mom”. I’m suppose to say it. You are someone our daughter looks up to and respects. I will be printing this and putting by her mirror in her room. Thank you for being you.

  3. deb carlson says:

    You are so right! I am going to be 60 this month and I know growing up how people and kids can be crule. It is not how you LOOK but how you carry yourself in life, also how you treat people. My mom always said “treat people how you would want to be treated” i have never forgot it. Smile and every one will smile too.

  4. Krystle says:

    I Just love this blog post. You couldn’t have found more truer words! Yet one thing else I have noticed being a mom of a school aged child, some parents are just as judgemental as those middle school children. They are so quick to judge this children based on apperance, no one knows there struggle at home or what is going on in there minds. Yet we degrade this “outcast in front of other children”. In my opinion children learn bullying and pick up alot of it not only from social media but from other adults as well, children learn by example. It the old golden rule…” if you dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all.”

  5. nikki says:

    Gosh i love this amanda! Deff gonna share it!

  6. Jeni says:

    WOW!!! Love this Amanda! This works not only for the “middle-school girl” but all Adults as well!! Very well said! THANK YOU!

  7. rescuemom says:

    I have been wanting to write to you for quite some time. I really admire the work you are doing to stand up to bullying. I watched your clip when you were in Des Moines and thought it was very moving. This piece you have written is just beautiful. I often wonder to myself why it is easier for people to be full of hatred rather than love. And I mean this even on a national or global level. Just think how different this world would be if love ruled. Idealistic, I know. When my daughter was little, I told her she needed to be friends with everyone. As kids get older, they tend to form their groups so I told her she might not necessarily be friends with everyone, but she can still be friendly to everyone. Anyway, coming from someone who was picked on as a kid and as an adult has seen so many kids suffer at the hands of hatred or insecurity or misunderstanding or bullying, please, please keep up the good work.

  8. Anogene Varner says:

    Amen. You said a mouthful, and that can go for boys as well as girls, too. I am the grandmother of two boys, and boys have feelings, too. The comments you made can work for boys as well. Well said, Amanda!

    Anogene Varner
    Cedar Rapids, IA

  9. NE Iowa Mom says:

    Well said! Unfortunately kids can be so cruel that it is sometimes very difficult for them to feel like even saying hello!

  10. Sarah says:

    in the inimitable words of Mary Poppins, “enough id as good as a feast”

  11. rescuemom says:

    I have been wanting to write to you for quite some time. I really admire the work you are doing to take a stand against bullying. I watched your clip from when you were in Des Moines and found it very moving. This piece you have written here is just beautiful. I have often wondered why it is easier for people to be full of hate rather than love. And I mean this on a national and global level, too. Idealistic, I know. When my daughter was little, I told her she needed to be friends with everyone. As they get older, kids tend to form their groups so I told her that she might not necessarily be friends with everyone, but she could still be friendly. Anyway, coming from someone who was picked on as a kid and as an adult has seen way too many kids suffer at the hands of hatred or insecurity or misunderstanding or bullying, please, please keep up the good work.

  12. rescuemom says:

    I really admire the work you are doing to take a stand against bullying. I watched your clip from when you were in Des Moines and found it very moving. This piece you have written here is just beautiful. I have often wondered why it is easier for people to be full of hate rather than love. And I mean this on a national and global level, too. Idealistic, I know. When my daughter was little, I told her she needed to be friends with everyone. As they get older, kids tend to form their groups so I told her that she might not necessarily be friends with everyone, but she could still be friendly. Anyway, coming from someone who was picked on as a kid and as an adult has seen way too many kids suffer at the hands of hatred or insecurity or misunderstanding or bullying, please, please keep up the good work.

  13. Joyce says:

    Today is St. Patrick’s Day and I would like to compliment you on your necklace…it’s very pretty. I know you said that others didn’t like your choices, but I do.

  14. rescuemom says:

    Oh, goodness…I didn’t realize that was going to post so many times. My apologies. I wrote it about a week ago, it never posted, and then it shows up today 3 times. So sorry…

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