The Pink Purse

I have had the pleasure [and the challenge] of teaching preschool age children this summer. It is not the usual classroom setting I am used to - these miniature versions of mom and dad stay in their seats for five minutes max. And there is more talk of the bathroom than I am sure there is at the local corner pub.

These children are of the age where, if they are potty trained, they still need help buttoning back up their pants and jean skirts and turning the sink on and off. They may even break into tears halfway into class - if a thought of mommy runs through through their minds*. They can't really carry more than three papers of artwork and are fascinated by any sparkly bracelets that adorn your wrists. They are not bound by the adult boundaries that we have set.
They will climb into your lap and hug you at random times
just because.. .

Sophia was one of the oldest girls in our art class this week. At age six, she slipped by the age limit of 3-5, with the understanding she would act as a "guardian" of sorts for her younger brother. (* above) Sophia is the definition of precocious. She is a 35 year old woman stuck in a 5 year old girl's body.

Yesterday she walked in with big black sunglasses on, a pink purse in hand, 7 or 8 fluorescent colored bracelets on each arm and a bright colorful sun dress. "I am a new person today, the old Sophia is gone!" she quipped in a sassy new voice.

Needing to quickly get to bottom of this I responded, "Well, I quite liked the old Sophia. What happened?"

"People didn't like me at school."

I certainly knew this not to be true, as she was the center of attention at Creative Kids. Her voice could be heard above the rest - Always helping out and making others laugh. This was not a girl in need of friends.

"I like you and I know Miss Lisa, Miss Caroline, Mommy and Daddy like you!"

"Hannah Montana had a secret identity, so I was thinking..." -- AHha!

It's all about that blonde-haired, brunette haired, can't decide the dye for the day Montana - the cause of all undecided little girl craziness.

Another young girl walked up to me moments later and asked, "What is she saying?" She could not understand Sophia's new cool girl talk. And with the honesty of only a child - she said,
"I don't like the new Sophia!"

It starts so young but we do it in our adult lives as well - don't we? I know I do. It's all that we hear on television and read in magazines. Some of my favorite trashy magazines - where you can see celebs - how they look and what they wear. It's all about bigger and better, fancier and cooler.
How silly is it when you sit down and think about it?

Faking who you really are doesn't give anyone pleasure. We are always left feeling as if we don't measure up. And in reality, we are hiding the true inner and outer beauty of what God has created in us. When we accept ourselves - all our strengths and weaknesses - however superficial or monumental they are - only then can we truly be happy. It is in Christ that we are new creation. We don't need secret identities. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

I smiled as I watched Sophia and her brother walking out, their arms overflowing with the artwork from the day. The sunglasses and bracelets were gone... and clutched in Christopher's small fist was the handle of the pink purse.

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