My baby cousin Peter is someone we can all take a few lessons from. At a little over two years old, he’s got his priorities and values straight. Let me explain by giving you an example of a typical Peter-action.

This past Sunday he was at church with his parents and sister. After the liturgy was over, people mill around and greet each other outside the church. His father is carrying him, when a family friend approaches them. My uncle greets his friend and tells Peter to say hi to “amo”–one of the Arabic words for “uncle.” In Egyptian culture, every male adult that you know is referred to as “uncle” and every adult female is referred to as “aunt.” It’s a part of the respectful and familial nature of the culture.

Peter, being the ever quick little child, looks at the man and very promptly shouts, “Not Amo!!” and smacks the man across the cheek.

It was simple really, the truth as Peter understands it is that his actual uncle, my father, is the person that is referred to as “amo,” not the stranger his father presented to him. Too young to understand cultural connotations, he repelled what to his innocent and simple understanding was a complete lie and guarded the truth he knew with fervor.

I had to stop and wonder how things would be if we all defended the truth that we know within our hearts and spirits with such passion and conviction–if any challenge to our faith and beliefs was met with a metaphorical smack across the cheek. Then perhaps we could sing out with David the prophet and the king when he says: “I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”

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I, like 99.9% of children, grew up watching Disney movies and listening to grand¬†fairy tales¬†being told over and over again. As far back as I can remember, Belle has always been my favorite Disney Princess. For some reason or another, I found her to be the bravest and brightest of them. It may have been her fixation on books, the way she bluntly turned down Gaston, her ability to find beauty in the Beast, or a combination of all three that first caught my attention way back when but of course I couldn’t tell you that. To my 7 year old mind, Belle was awesome.

But now when I look back on the heroine of my childhood and all her fellow leading ladies, I find it hard to ignore the one theme that ties all their stories together and that would be the love story, of course. When broken down to their bare structure, all the lovely stories and fairy tales are about a woman being found and saved by a prince in one way or another. All these heroines are of course wonderful and lovely, but their story is only told because a prince walked in and saved the day. Would we have ever heard of Cinderella if the prince had never gone looking for her after she disappeared from the ball? Would Rapunzel even exist if he hadn’t found her locked away in her tower? Would Belle simply wither away without ever having stepped into human consciousness if it weren’t for the arrogant prince who needed to learn to love? Would all these bright, funny, vivacious female characters have ever made a mark if it wasn’t for their love stories? What if Prince Charming never came?

My intention at the moment is not attack or bash fairy tales or Disney. I simply aim to pose a question. Is a woman’s beauty, intelligence, spirit not worth noting if it is not first noted by a man? Is she truly invisible until she is discovered by someone? If fairy tales seem too far contrived look to Hollywood and the tabloids instead. An actress may be talented and beautiful and a humanitarian but she becomes the talk of the town when rumors start to buzz about her love life. Of course the question goes both ways. Would the prince’s tale even matter if he had not found his princess?

I just sometimes wonder if it is all one big waiting game… And what if he never comes? What if he never finds her?