More often than not, we're impressed by what our kids pick up from us and the entertainment they consume — words, phrases, mannerisms. After an afternoon at the mall with her daughter, Brittney Johnson realized just how much her girl is picking up from her. In Starbucks, at dinner, and after riding the carousel, Johnson's little girl exhibited her best manners and proved to be a truly kind little girl, but it wasn't until the pair were in a dressing room at Target trying on bikinis that she really discovered how important it is to set a good example for our monkey-see, monkey-do kids.
"We walked into Target and she helped me pick out a few swimsuits. We picked out 11. Yeah. ELEVEN. Walked into the dressing room and she sat down her baby and started unhooking the swimsuits from the hangers and yelling 'I can see your butt!' for the whole dressing room to hear," Johnson wrote in a post to Facebook detailing the duo's mall trip. "And then I put on a suit, and then a second one, and a third one. I snapped pictures of them to send to my girlfriends and say 'yes or no?!' because girls are wired weird and that's just what we do. And then I snapped this one."
The photo, which she shared along with the post, features Johnson in a coral bikini and her daughter in the bottom corner with half her dress on and the top of a leopard-print bikini.
"I stopped for a second to see what she would say and when she turned to the mirror, she said, 'Wow I just love cheetah print! I think I look beautiful! Do you think I look beautiful too?!' . . . when it hit me that she only says what she hears. What she sees. I tell her that she is beautiful every single day. She is kind walking through the mall, because I tell her she is kind everywhere else. She is polite at the order counter because she hears me when I'm polite to strangers everywhere. She gives compliments to people she doesn't know because she loves how it feels when she hears them. And when we are in a dressing room, with swimsuits of all God forsaken things, there is a split moment when I have the power to say 'Wow I have really gotten fat this year' OR 'Wow I love this coral color on me!' And those are the words burned into my daughter's brain."
Johnson continues her revelation with a message for everybody, especially other parents: "When it comes to manners, be an example. When it comes to kindness, be an example. And when it comes to body image, be an example."
She added, "I am not a size zero. I never will be. . . . But this body made a whole other body. I am strong. I am able. And I am happy. I don't have to be beautiful like you, because I am beautiful like me. And as my daughter gets older, and she faces judgment and criticism, I will always remind her that the girls who look the prettiest in a two piece, or a body suit, or a freaking Snuggie, are the ones who are happy. Because that's ALL that matters. And I want her to look at herself every single day and say 'Oh wow! I think I look beautiful!' because EVERY girl deserves to feel that."