Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
April 30, 2001
CWL holds poster, essay contests
At its April 20-22 convention in Red Deer, the Catholic Women's League announced the winners of a poster and essay contest held among school children in the archdiocese. A total of 712 entries were received. First place winners are:
Following is Benoit's winning entry.
When I look in the mirror what do I see? Not a flawless face or a perfect body, like the ones that I see every time I open a magazine or turn on a television set.
So is it still okay to like what I see if I do not look like them, or dress like them? Can I still be proud of myself if I don't have long, silky hair and big, bright eyes, or a six-foot tall, 95-pound frame?
It's overwhelming to imagine the pressures a teenager in the new millennium faces. The pressures we face to be like the models and actors we see every day. Looks seem to be everything in this material world we have created for ourselves.
What ever happened to primary importance of intelligence and skills? Why have people stopped caring so much about inner beauty? And what happened to uplifting sayings like "Beauty is only skin deep" and "It's what's inside that counts"? Obviously they don't mean much to people anymore.
This important issue doesn't stop at looks or wearing the right clothes. It also has a lot to do with money. There's a lot of pressure on teen guys to buy that new vehicle, that loud stereo system, and all the latest CDs to go with it. For teen girls the right image is all about a nice car, and the most expensive clothes and make-up.
But why do we think we need all that stuff to be popular? Because the media tells us so. Teens are major customers, so certain things, such as clothes, make-up, cigarettes and music are advertised as much as possible in a way that makes us think we need the products they are trying to sell.
Another stressful area of a teen's life is work. The media tells us we need these certain things and in order to get what we think we need, we get a job.
Mostly weekends and after school, leaving very little time for socializing, and especially homework.
The worst thing is when you are scheduled to work on Sunday. First of all, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. It's a family tradition that we go to church in the morning, do something as a family in the afternoon and eat a nice dinner together.
But if you've got to work, you've got to work. So which do we value more - our family or our money?
I'm not trying to blame this on teens because it is nearly impossible not to get sucked in by the media, and we aren't the ones who said it was okay to go shopping on Sundays. All I am saying is that I think it's about time we really sat down and prioritized.
We have to realize that self-esteem, intelligence, family and friends are more important than looking like a model, driving the right car, or wearing the right clothes. We have to see past that false comfort that we get from material things and learn to feel good about ourselves for who we are and what we can do with the gifts God gives us.
If we want to be truly happy, we must first learn to love and respect the person we see when we look in the mirror.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.