What I Believe: Happily Ever After

Am I the only one who got knocked over yesterday?!
I mean, socks off, out of the blue....completely bowled over? 

Let me elaborate.

So, I was strolling about deseretbook.com and found this culprit:
Deets on this?  
Well it's 10"x23" and runs about $30.  
I'm in love with it entirely.

I wish I'd had this statement/quote when I was a teenager.  The world has us believe so many warped & twisted things.  Especially as girls.  Life's only great if you're a princess, and there's a prince charming.  You're lucky to have woodlawn critters and super short little people for friends running around (approximately 7 will do).  There's a magical kiss & it's all unicorns and rainbows from there.  

BTW, my teenage role was always the super short little friend.  
Never the princess.  
Just how it worked out.

Before I go any farther, that quote comes from May 2010's Ensign article by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "Your Happily Ever After."  Somehow I'd missed it the first go-round, but it's soooo worth the read.  (Actually, I remember how I missed it.  My Ensign subscription ran up earlier this year, and I've forgotten to renew it.  Note to self: add to the TOP of the to-do list, thank you!) 

It's all got me remembering a couple things...

FIRST: a line from Into the Woods
Cinderella's prince quite profoundly states, "I was raised to be charming, not sincere."

SECOND: there's one of Dave Barry's newspaper columns I found & fell in love with back in 2002.  I'm posting it here: a) because I love it so much, and b) hopefully we can remember that beyond entertainment, real happily ever afters are so different than what Disney can draw.

No Glass Slipper for This Little Princess

"WALT DISNEY has taken over my daughter's brain. She's not even 2, but she's already obsessed with the Disney cartoon versions of "Snow White," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty," all of which have the same plot: The heroine is beautiful, but sad. Or in a coma. But wait! Here comes a handsome prince! He kisses her! She's happy! Everybody's happy! Even the woodland creatures are dancing!

I have big problems with this. For one thing, if you see a squirrel dancing, you are looking at the final stages of rabies. For another thing, I don't want my daughter growing up believing that Handsome Prince Equals Lifetime Happiness, which is the basic Disney message.

The alleged exception is "Beauty and the Beast," wherein the beautiful heroine falls in love with a creature who makes the Wolf Man look like Hugh Grant. The enlightened message of this story, we are led to believe, is: Appearance doesn't matter! Inner beauty is what counts! But this message goes down the toilet at the end when the spell on the beast is finally broken, and he is revealed to be - you guessed it - Gary Condit. No, of course, the beast is a handsome prince. The heroine has no trouble with the fact that she is suddenly hooked up with a guy who looks absolutely nothing like the one she fell in love with. Clearly, she's thinking, "Whew! Now I won't have to shave our babies!"

My daughter soaks up the Disney stories the way a fraternity soaks up beer. Oh, I try to give her some perspective. I try to distract her from these shallow, gender-stereotyping, ludicrously romanticized girlish fantasies by interesting her in realistic, intellectually challenging, character-building activities.

"Sophie!" I'll say, "Let's watch football on TV!" Sometimes, she actually will spend a few minutes watching football with me. She clearly understands the game. When the teams go to the line of scrimmage, she says: "Ready." When they run a play, she says: "Fall down." When a player is lying on the field, writhing in agony, she says: "Boo-boo."

Sophie's commentary is much easier to follow than all that technical stuff about slot formations and zone blitzes. I'd like to see the TV broadcasters take the same approach:

Pat Summerall: Rams ready. Bears ready. Fall down! John?

John Madden: Yes, Pat. Fall down.

Pat Summerall: OK. Rams ready again. Bears ready again. Fall down! Uh-oh ...

John Madden: Boo-boo, Pat.

The problem is that after only a few minutes, Sophie gets bored with football - if you can imagine - and wants to go back to playing Snow White. This is a game she plays 814,000 times per day, using little figurines to act out the parts. Snow White is played by Snow White. The seven dwarfs are played by six dwarfs (Sleepy is currently missing). The wicked witch is played by a Fisher-Price Little People construction worker, who wears a hard hat, as if to say: "I may be evil incarnate, but dang it, I am not exempt from OSHA regulations!" The poison apple is played by a plastic apple from Sophie's play kitchen. It's roughly 10 times the size of Snow White's head; even if she didn't eat it, this thing could scare her into a coma. The handsome prince is usually played by a handsome prince, although recently he was misplaced, so Snow White was awakened from her coma by a romantic kiss
from - a sheep. It's from the Fisher-Price farm set, and as sheep go, it's reasonably handsome.

Over and over, in Sophie's little hands, these figurines act out the story: Snow White is put to sleep by the giant, mutant apple; she is awakened by the handsome prince/sheep; everybody dances around happily, including the hard-hat witch.

But I am not happy. I am eager for Sophie to reach a more mature age - say, 3 - so that I can explain to her, as a concerned father, that men, especially handsome men, are vermin scum. I will inform her that she will not be allowed to date until she is a minimum of 47 years old, and even then, her dates will have to be unattractive.

I will keep horses in the garage, and if a man wishing to date my daughter fails to spook them, I will politely ask him to leave, from behind the machine gun that I will keep mounted on a tripod in the foyer, next to a sign that says: "Kiss this, Prince Charming."

I'm just kidding, of course. I may be a protective dad, but I'm also a realistic and reasonable person. She can date at 46."

From a mom's perspective, I not only appreciate the humor & irony in Dave's column, but also can relate.  I want to cry when I see our daughters out in the world and what they're up against.  They go from being our young, sweet little girls in ruffles & fairytales to becoming teenagers and going head-to-head with immodesty, vulgarity in every form, pornography, etc.  I hope and pray that one good thing materializes from having all grown-up pining away for fairytales.  I hope they still have a great enough desire for that happily ever after that they can withstand all the moral perils of society and the world we live in.  I hope they can recognize tarnish for what it is....rather than getting swallowed up by the all-consuming moral trash that walks the earth.

Some would say I'm panicking.  But as a mom, that's my job.  And as a former young woman myself, it's also my job to protect other young girls from a world that would chew 'em up & spit 'em out.

Young ladies of today, please know that you're so much more important than you realize!  REAL happily ever afters are worth waiting...worth keeping your dignity...worth maintaining your integrity...worth choosing to NOT wear what everyone else is wearing...worth choosing to NOT use the language & vernacular everyone else is...worth choosing to NOT watch the television shows, movies, or youtube videos everyone else is watching...worth choosing to NOT listen to the filth the music industry is peddling as actual "music"...worth obeying your parents...worth telling the truth 100%...worth choosing good, true friends...worth getting your complete education...worth protecting your virtue...worth being married to an honorable husband...worth having a family together with your honorable husband...worth staying close to the Lord.

Happily Ever After is worth it!

I am either going to buy that quote above or do something with it in vinyl for Mini-Me's room.  Still not sure, but I'll keep ya posted on it.  Turns out good to have found it when I found it, since Mini-Me's decided not to do her room in a theme based on the musical "Wicked" after all.  ;) 


Connie said...

Amen! Pres. Uchtdorf, Dave Barry and you all got it right! (That's my opinion, anyway)

Chels said...

Oh man! I totally love this! I'm always panicked about all the crap that'll be around by the time I have kids - and then panic that I'm going to be way overprotective and totally ruin my children. GAH!

Sonora said...

Something about your posts makes we want to stand up and give you a standing ovation. This is such a beautiful post. I am thinking I need to do something with that quote for my daughters too. It is scary being a mother in this day and age. There is so much awfulness out there. I also found it interesting though, that I am still learning some of the things you said. I am going to have to read that talk by President Uchtdorf. Thanks for sharing such a needed message!

Cherie said...

I am in love with that picture/saying - Oh my Deseret book here I come.
I love Pres. Uchdorf and that talk was amazing.
Hadn't read the Dave Barry.
I also have always love "The LIttle Princess" book and movie - We are ALL Princesses afterall!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This is a wonderful post. I hope many big and little girls get the message. Stopping from Mom Loop!

jen said...

Love your post today. Lily's only 10, so I'm out of the YW loop for a while, but it's something we can all relate to. And that talk by President Uchtdorf will go down as a classic.
My Crisis post crashed when I accidentally deleted my blog roll. I'm reposting it now.
I would love to learn a little more about your health issues and how you deal with them.

S.I.F. said...

I love it. And I want it! That is seriously one of the best quotes I've read in a long time!!

And I worry so much about this idea of happily ever after... I think it leads so many young girls to settle. To take "good enough" in the hopes that he will eventually transition into "prince charming". And when that happens (because prince charming isn't real) I think people end up jaded and angry and don't even give the love they thought a chance.

It's a busted up cycle. I tend to blame Rom Coms rather than Disney, but I think it's all part of the same family! ;)

Valerie said...

I loved that talk and that plaque is beautiful. Maybe I'll try to put a craft together with my girls to make something similar.

By the way, thanks for your personal comment on my blog post. I can really see how that would be an extremely difficult situation. Divorce and wrong decisions really do affect so many people and it's sad when those doing it don't see that. I hope that you are able to find some peace in the situation. (And I'm glad it's not your marriage suffering in case my comments sound like that's what I'm saying to anyone else.)

Kim said...

Hello My Dear!

I LOVED! LOVED! LOVED! this talk! When I listened to his talk, I cried, laughed, cried somemore and laughed with my daughters right next to me. We have been doing some rearranging in our home, with bedrooms, and now I know what I am going to put on their walls!

I too wish I would have had something like this quote to when I was growing up. I too, am now seeing my worth and importance that Heavenly Father sees in me.

The more posts of yours I read, the more I see that we truly kindred spirits who through blogging have finally reconnected.

Although life doesn't turn out the way we planned, it is awesome to know that Heavenly Father does know how its going to turn out "if" we but turn to him and then we can have our "happily ever-after"

Spread Your Love For the Gusty Ridge Ranch


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