I used to say this to my boys as soon as they were old enough to understand.
My sons are twins so they used to get a lot of attention when they were babies and were called "beautiful" and "handsome" often. It was flattering and nice to hear but I did not want them to think that was what it meant to be beautiful.
I told them that their outsides, their looks, was something God given and they were not responsible for that part. Their insides, their soul, that is the part of themselves they had complete control of.
Being a beautiful person meant saying “please” and “thank you”, smiling, sharing a treat, keeping your promises, being grateful for what you have and being kind.
My boys are thirteen now and if you have teenagers, you know this is a time where growth spurts are happening, voices are cracking and acne is making its presence known.
Not a recipe for gorgeous.
In spite of all this awkwardness, I feel that my boys have been able to maintain a quiet confidence in themselves. They are not thrilled to get a pimple in the middle of their face but they realize that is just temporary and does not define them.
Taking the time to teach our kids what really matters is so important. It allows them to focus on what is truly meaningful and helps them see that they are in charge of creating what kind of person they want to be in the world.