As the world welcomes England's new princess, I can't help but think about the title, how it is used and what it means for our daughters. In the United States, the girl's section of the department store is littered with items proudly proclaiming PRINCESS across the front. We place this label all over our daughter's bedrooms, on their shirts and in their hearts, but I wonder, what is the message we are communicating to our young girls when we proclaim them royalty?
The traditional fairy tale princess, an extraordinarily beautiful girl who, after accidentally meeting a prince riding through the woods, sings a duet and starts planning a wedding, may not be the ideal role model for my young daughter. Does that mean I can't pull my sweet girl into my chest, kiss the top of her head and whisper, "I love you, princess?"
The truth is, being a princess isn't just about the diamond tiara. It isn't just about the dresses, the shoes, the parties or the privileges. The title 'princess' is not exclusive to girls with a certain waist size, skin color or family pedigree. Princesses, like England's Kate, don't get to do and have whatever they want, whenever. They work hard. They are educated. They speak for the less fortunate close to home and across the world. They are mothers. They are wives. They make their own, "Happily Ever After."
So, I tell my daughter SHE IS a princess, and then I tell her what kind of princess I hope she will be:
1. Be a Beautiful Princess
Princesses are beautiful, not because of the dresses they wear, but because of who they are. True princesses smile and radiate friendliness wherever they go. They look their best when they are serving their communities or comforting a friend. Princesses are prettiest when they are healthiest. They appreciate the bodies they have and take care of them. They are beautiful whether they are playing soccer in the mud or performing a ballet on stage. Be a Beautiful princess!
2. Be a Powerful Princess
Princesses are powerful, not because they tell everyone what to do, but because everyone is watching them. As a princess, your actions will speak much louder than your words. Command less, and do more. Educate yourself so you can be confident. Use your influence to bring lonely girls into your circle of friends. Encourage understanding, growth, and creativity among your peers. Share your love for learning, and assist others in their exploration. Use your power for good, Princess.
3. Be an Accountable Princess
Princesses, today, are accountable to their public for their actions as well as their use of funds. You are accountable too. If you use your power to bully or exclude, there are consequences for that. If you treat those who look up to you poorly, they will stop following you. If your actions are not admirable, they will no longer respect you. Choose wisely, princess, and learn quickly from your mistakes.
Being a princess isn't for the faint of heart. It is for the strong. It means that you lead after you listen. It means that you accuse less and encourage more. Being a princess means that you have power to make change, and you should. You are a beautiful princess. You are mine, and you are loved.