we're eating mushy food at the moment, as one of my kids has just had braces fitted. which has lead me to ponder on the efforts we go to in order to improve our appearance.
the process is excruciating and takes so long. from the teeth being pulled out to the discomfort of the braces and the constant pulling of rubberbands. what does it say about us as a society that we think it's ok to put our children through this for 2 whole years, just so they can have nice straight teeth. and let's not even talk about the cost. a family in the developing world could have decent meals for a year on the amount of money the orthodontist is taking from us.
in a perfect world, it wouldn't matter if your teeth were crooked. i've always been one to advocate judging people by their actions rather than by their appearance. it's a constant effort to encourage my kids to develop their self-confidence. i don't want their happiness to depend on what other people think of them. it seems paradoxical that they don't care about how weird they look with braces on, but do care that their teeth are crooked.
it's important to me that they shouldn't care. because it means that they have developed an independence of spirit, allowing them to judge things in light of their own ethics without worrying what others will think of them. it means they won't be like sheep following the crowd, but will have developed the ability to speak up and speak out, to be a visible minority when they know the majority is wrong.
on the other hand, i've never had crooked teeth. so i don't feel that i can deny my child braces just because i want her to think a certain way. in the end, she has to come to that conclusion herself. as a parent, i can encourage her thinking but i feel that i have to support her in things where she feels differently to me - as long as what she's doing is legal! so i guess it's mushy food for a few days yet. and the hope that at some time in her life, she will remember what her mother said, and that will help her to be the confident and independent young woman she deserves to be.