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MOORE COLUMN: A 3-year-old will make my birthday wish come true

When my 3-year-old niece, Keiana, found out I was celebrating a birthday this week, she was so happy for me.

Ana’s excitement led to a discussion about wishes. Hoping to lead her into a theological discussion, I asked her, “Who makes wishes come true?”

Ana has a thing for wands. She and her grandmother made about a dozen of them out of pipecleaners. She smiled and said, “I do.”

I corrected her, just to give her a lesson about God. After a discussion later with my sister, I wish I hadn’t. I knew that faith was an important thing to instill in a child, but did not consider how important instilling faith in one’s self was.

Soap manufacturer Dove made a commercial a few months ago as part of its self-esteem project. In it, a woman off-camera interviewed several young girls, asking each to show her what it looks like to run and throw “like a girl.” The girls shared a dainty, silly version of each.

The interviewer then asked the girls to show how they actually run and throw balls. Not a single one matched the first demonstration. It was a wonderful lesson in perception and in the societal labels children buy in to at an early age.

According to DoSomething.org, 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking or disordered eating.

Now, I’m almost ashamed I corrected my niece. It feels like I tore her down instead of building her up.

I want her to know she can accomplish anything she works hard to do. That is my birthday wish and I cannot wait to see Ana make it come true.