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Maxine Rose Schur (www.maxineroseschur.com)
To understand why I’ve created this toy idea, read on:
Since the 1995 publication of the landmark book Reviving Ophelia* there has been greater awareness of the importance of a strong self-image for young girls to counter the “beauty-perfect” images that pervade the media through television, movies, video games, toys and advertising. The book and subsequent research have brought to light the insidious impact the popular media and societal pressure have on the self-image of young girls who learn at a very early age that being pretty and attractive to boys is a measure of self-worth and social success. The research revealed that even the self-esteem of strong, confident girls diminishes dramatically from the age of seven as they become more exposed to mass culture.
Because children are learning new behaviors and “wiring their brain,” affirmations can be particularly effective with them. Research shows that positive self-belief developed in childhood stays throughout life. When children hear words of praise and encouragement, they learn to praise, and respect themselves. Once affirmations are learned, they work by coming to mind when that belief is challenged. Also, the more an affirmation is repeated, the stronger it becomes.
Also of importance, affirmations are believed to be the most powerful when said or heard while looking into a mirror. Young girls introduced to this concept may feel more comfortable and self-assured looking at themselves in the mirror as they mature.
Because the mirror is programmed with hundreds of words of encouragement and because they take a varied form: rhymes, riddles, charming, unexpected thoughts, serious affirmations and questions, the toy does not present as didactic, nor can it quickly become predictable as are the current crop of toy mirrors. Rather Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror continues with each use to be unpredictable—surprising, fresh and above all, more fun.
Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror is accompanied by a small storybook that tells the story of Princess Lily and her three empowering sisters, the enchanted land in which they live and how the mirror came to be “enchanted.” It also includes a guide for parents in giving positive affirmations and modeling and encouraging the self-awareness of feelings.
Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror reflects to the child not merely her external appearance, but her inner strength and beauty. The mirror anticipates the child’s age-appropriate anxieties, concerns and doubts and gently and creatively suggests behaviors and thoughts to challenge them. In this way, Princess Lily’s Enchanted Mirror functions as both a toy and a psychological tool.