My mother used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does.” She would remind me that beauty will be reflected in a person’s behavior. There are some moments she would have really been proud of in my life and I have had my share of not so flattering moments. I have shared this lesson with my kids and I can say that, in general, their behavior is pretty good and that they became experts at monitoring my behavior.
“Princess Penelope’s Parrot” by Helen Lester beautifully illustrates
how wealth, cute clothes, luxurious items, and showy behaviors don’t make you more special or more appealing if you don’t communicate with people with kindness and sincerity. This book drives home the point that behavior is a reflection of one’s inner beauty. When we meet Princess Penelope she is celebrating her birthday in her castle and making a grand effort to ensure that everyone knows she should be revered because of her title. I have read this book to many elementary school children and asked them after hearing the story to describe this little princess. They use words like bossy, mean, selfish, disrespectful, stingy, and greedy. Moreover, the kids have said that she was an impolite girl with bad manners. No matter the age of the kids or their grade level I was always excited to see that the children didn’t talk about the special gifts she received on her special day. They only saw her behavior. What a great story to teach a lesson on good manners and humility! It also emphasized that Mama was a really smart lady! “Pretty is as pretty does!”