I bet she was never just a kid

I have very mixed feeling about the Miss Universe pageant. On one hand, I think that the Miss Universe pageants have kept up with the times in that a focus is put on education, future goals, the importance of giving back to society and helping to make a difference in the world. In the old days it was pretty much all about looks- only!

However, I have mixed feelings because it still continues to put a huge emphasis on our young kids that “looks mean everything,” and that if you don’t have the perfect #10 body you won’t be the winner. Miss Universe pageant does not teach children good values and ethics about their own bodies. I would much prefer that my daughter, who’s interested in becoming an astronaut focuses on school work, science, math and being “just a kid” than spending countless hours, as a kid, learning modeling skills, practicing how to walk up and down runways, learning how to put make-up on at the age of 14, and being overly consumed with looks, looks and more looks.

In our neighborhood, I know a Mom who is literally pushing her elementary grade daughter into national dance competition. She lives right down the street, within walking distance, and is the same age as my kid. Never once, in 5 years, has this kid been allowed to have a play date after school, or a sleepover during the weekends. Why? Because she trains with a coach 3 – 4 HOURS per night after school, and then every Saturday morning has either a competition or more practice.

This in NOT healthy, and I don’t care what anybody says. This kid may succeed in life, she may become the national dance winner, she may be so trained at focusing and being persistent, and this entire childhood experience may open up more opportunities for her as a kid, but when it comes right down to it, this kid has forfeited her entire childhood. I’m a big believer and advocate in allowing kids to just be kids. As we age, we worry. There is so much trouble in the world, so much pressure to succeed, so much competition for getting into colleges, so much emphasis on making $$, that I still vehemently believe that kids should cherish their ONLY time in life to “just be a kid.”

Now don't get me wrong, it would be fun to be MISS PUERTO RICO, ZULEYKA RIVERA , afterall, she does get to wear a crown valued at $250,000. It’s a Mikimoto design, with 800 diamonds, totaling almost 18 carats in diamonds, 120 pearls South Sea and Akoya pearls, ranging in size from 3.0 - 18 mm. Design depicts the phoenix rising, which signifies status, power and beauty. But I still wonder how many birthday parties, sleepovers, bikeriding, and just plain "goofing off" she did as a kid growing up?

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