Pageants are a hot topic these days with parents…some people love them while others think they are horrible and damaging. But not all pageants are what you see on TV. I can only share our experience with them and the positives they have highlighted for my daughter.
I was raised on a small farm….we live the small farm life so when my daughter told me she wanted to try a pageant a few years ago I could not grasp the idea in my head. WHY??? What purpose is this for. She was 8 and her response was, I want to wear beautiful dresses and get a crown like the girl on the Disney show. So that explained how she knew what one was. It was on an iCarly episode.
This was a child who still hid behind me shyly when people spoke to her. She was a “wall flower” in a group opting to stay in the shadows rather than be in the spotlight. Her Pre-K teacher told us she was not social in groups rather opting to play with one child or by herself. For this reason we sent our children to a private Catholic school as the smaller environment was a better choice for her. Now she thinks she can get on a stage in front of people?? What would this do to her self esteem if she didn’t win a crown? How much is this going to cost us? How do you even find pageants? Maybe if I ignore this it will go away. But over the next 5 months it did not, She kept asking and asking to find one.
I did a google search, was led to a facebook page, was connected with a pageant system 8 hours from us and directed to a contact in our local area who held pageants. My first question was how does a beauty pageant work? The answer was brilliant…these are not beauty pageants, these are confidence building workshops. HUH????
The woman explained to me every child receives a crown, every child has to speak and introduce themselves, every child makes friends, every child cheers for the other children, parents are expected to cheer for every child. Yes, there are titles and higher titles but this system acknowledges every child for their participation and they are given a sheet from the judges highlighting their outstanding qualities with a few suggestions to move up in the next pageant. There is no makeup, fake anything, or thousand dollar dresses. This is your child getting on the stage in a store bought dress, speaking, being asked a question, modeling their attire and showing their confidence. There is even a talent entry to showcase their talent if they so choose.
Fast forward 3 years and approximately 12 pageants completed (the last one was this past Saturday, April 5th). My daughters room is filled with all different style crowns, trophies, prizes and sashes. (this is less than 1/2 of what she has not including the slip & slide toy, stuffed animals, oversized pillows, karaoke machine and many other prizes).
Yesterday my daughter was awarded best oral presentation for her class. She is confident speaking in public, reading at a Mass, and even singing in a crowded mall a solo Christmas performance. This is all due to her pageant experience. Quite a few of her friends from school now participate in the pageants with us and it’s so heartwarming to hear them yell for each other and hug after a pageant congratulating eachother. We then head home where she changes into her barn clothes and heads out to play in the mud.
Chase has met many girls from all over our area as well as Canada. She is a pen-pal with a girl she met in February who lives 4 hours north of us in Canada. They are looking forward to seeing eachother in May at their next pageant.
For my daughter this has been a truly positive experience. After a few pageants teachers at school and friends commented on how “out of her shell” she had become. She strives to be better at each pageant and really loves to cheer for her friends. She has so much more confidence now than she did. She is center for her schools basketball team, joined the softball team this year, has performed solo’s for her talent at pageants, for Christmas concerts in nursing homes and for fundraisers for the Make A Wish Foundation. She does around 3 pageants a year and looks forward to them.
I chose this topic due to someone asking me to do something this past Saturday. When I said I could not as my daughter was in a pageant, this persons face said it all before she stated “how degrading..that’s horrible to put your child in a pageant”. I just laughed and said it’s been a true blessing for my child!!