Raising a Cinderella

June 9, 2010

Cinderella… she was ever hopeful, beautiful, and selfless.  She was kind and generous.  In stark contrast to Cinderella, her step-sisters were callous, selfish, and lazy. In today’s world, they’d probably have their own credit cards – without a spending limit, use social media as a means for cyber-bullying and believe fame (of any kind) to be the ultimate standard for success.

When my daughter was about two years old, she was obsessed with Cinderella and all of the princesses.  The Cinderella movie graced our TV practically every evening while I made dinner.  It was during one of these nights that I began watching the movie more analytically.  I was thinking about what a friend of a friend shared with me. Newly single, she explained how hopeless she felt about dating.

“I just wish I could find that prince charming.  I’m pretty sure they don’t exist anymore.”

My thought is this:

Maybe Prince Charming doesn’t exist but neither does sweet kind Cinderella; OR maybe Prince Charming does exist. In which case, he might come to find if you became more like the Cinderella he is searching for.

I know it seems like a brutal thought, but I see it everywhere now.  Parents raising their daughters to believe that they are Cinderellas — deserving of a Prince Charming — while they let them act like the evil step-sisters.  They spend their days texting, bullying, gossiping, consuming and wasting instead of saving, serving others, or building and growing in their relationships.  Then parents reward their laziness by giving them every luxury they can afford–or can charge on a credit card.  So they never have the opportunity to learn the reward of hard work, the importance of honoring a commitment, or what the word “no” put into action really looks like.  Yet   we wonder why they go crazy when that glass slipper and the life it represents, doesn’t fit.

Like Cinderella, I want my daughters to be selfless, gracious, hopeful, confident, humble and (perhaps most importantly) to exhibit self-restraint.  So how do we teach our girls to be this kind of woman?”  The difficult solution lies in our commitment to no longer allow our children to believe they are entitled to money, fame or success, without hard work and dedication. The media bombards them with celebrities that boast a life of lawlessness without consequence and reward without discipline.  Are we supplying them with that reality as well?  As mothers, we have to run interference.  We have to break through their glazed-over expressions and show them the truth.  Anything worth having in life, especially love, takes work.  Love may find you one day but if you’re not prepared then you won’t be worthy of what it brings.

Most people think the Cinderella story is about a girl who was rescued by a handsome Prince.  I think it’s about a girl who diligently served and worked each day in a place that didn’t provide her with the credit she deserved. She remained hopeful that one day someone would notice.  Someone finally did, but it wasn’t the Prince.  It was the Fairy God-mother.  When the time was right, she was the one that rescued Cinderella.  I have to believe that someday if I do my job as a mother, and raise my daughters to be hard working and patient, then in God’s perfect timing her Prince will come.  And he’ll be ready to leave everyone else behind in relentless pursuit for her.  The slipper he offers may not be made of glass but it will fit.  I hope she will wear it proudly.


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  • Princymanoj

    wow!!! god bless you.

  • Angela

    Great article! It definitely needed to be said.

  • Iloveicbc

    Thank you for this! What a great concept. I hesitate to let my little girl have “princess” parties because of the association with spoiled brattiness that the word has seen lately. I do want my daughter to have a servant’s heart and to roll with the punches, so to speak. I will treasure this concept in the choices we make in raising her…and raise our son to be a prince charming who has a good reputation.