When my youngest son graduated from preschool, they asked all the children what they wanted to be when they grew up. Almost every little girl said, "A princess." What is it about little girls dreaming about becoming princesses? The popularity of fairy tales in movies, books and toys contributes to this desire. Who doesn't want to "live happily ever after" with her prince?
In truth, every young woman is a princess. They are of royal birth as daughters of God. Yet, each must come to this understanding on her own, as each is not born into a castle.
Fairy tales share the story of lots of princesses. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel all have happy endings. Yet, to reach their happy endings, each had to go through a trial, strengthen her character and prove who she is or come to a realization of who she really is. Even if your daughter is not destined to live in a castle, teach her to build the character traits and wisdom that the fairy tale princesses did.
Before she made it to the ball and met the prince, Cinderella learned to work hard. She had been denied her rightful place in the family and yet, she continues to serve those who use her with a cheerful countenance. She truly lived the teachings of Christ when he said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
Cinderella showed humility in her circumstances. She was born into a noble family. She could have reacted with pride and refused to work. Instead she submitted to her step family's demands. She understood that things will not always go her way.
Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
In every version of this story, Beauty is portrayed as a young woman who is different from all the other girls. She immerses herself in books. She views the world in a different way. All of these experiences help her to understand that it is okay to be different, to not follow the crowd.
Because she has been judged by others, she is better able to empathize with the beast for his differences. She is prepared to judge not by the outward appearance, but to judge others' hearts. Her kindness also teaches the beast that he can change his attitude. She truly understood the Savior's admonishment to "judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1)
When Sleeping Beauty was born, the fairies came and blessed her with good gifts and talents. Except the evil fairy who cursed her. This is similar to all who come to earth. Each is blessed with talents and gifts. But each is also given trials, temptations and difficulties to overcome. Happily for this princess, a good fairy made it possible for her to overcome the curse. The Lord makes the following promise through the Apostle Paul: "But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Who can forget the fear Snow White had as she was chased into the dark forest by a man who had promised to kill her. He could not kill her, yet he could not let her return. She had to turn her back on all that was familiar to her.
And yet, she persevered. Upon finding the dwarves' cottage she went to work. She cooked and cleaned and cared for them. Removed from the grandeur of a castle, humbled by her circumstances and dressed in rags, the magic mirror still proclaimed her the most beautiful in the land. She was the most beautiful because she was beautiful inside and out. Proverbs 31 provides a description of a virtuous woman. She is regarded as the most valuable because she knows how to work, just as Snow White does.
My children love to watch the Disney movie, Tangled, which tells the story of Rapunzel. In the movie, she is mesmerized by the lanterns that are released each year on her birthday. She also paints the royal image from her original home, a sun, everywhere. This attraction is a subconscious understanding of who she is: a daughter of royal birth. Once she comes to understanding who she is, the daughter of a king, she is able to claim her birthright.
Every young woman needs to come to this understanding: that she too is the daughter of a king, a child of God. In Romans chapter 8, it states: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." (Romans 8:16) Coming to this understanding will give each young woman the strength to face the challenges that come to her.
If you hear your daughter claim that she wants to be a princess, help her to understand the work that comes with it. As a princess she will claim not only the privileges, but also the responsibility to develop her character and live her life in such a way that she demonstrates the true princess she is as a daughter of God.