I will NEVER forget a particular lecture I attended more than a decade ago. The presenter posed the question: “Do you teach your daughters that they are grapefruits or diamonds?” Not a question I had ever pondered in a meaningful way…but then he explained…
When we go to the grocery store and we see a large vat of grapefruits on display…we get to decide whether we are in the mood for grapefruits…based on the season, how they look, and whether they happen to be on sale. We can buy one, or many, depending on our personal preference and the price. We can pick them up, touch them, examine them, squeeze them, smell them, and ultimately, decide whether to throw them back in the vat, take them home to consume…or even discard.
When it comes to diamonds, however, our purchase is never flippant or impulsive. We take time to save and to plan. We carefully select a jeweler who we trust; and make an appointment to discuss the diamonds he keeps safeguarded in a lockable cabinet or safe. It is only when he trusts our intentions, that he brings out a diamond for us to view. He explains the diamond’s qualities – its beauty, and its flaws…it’s overall integrity. We can carefully take the time to appreciate the diamond’s magnificence. And, should we choose to invest in the diamond, we treat it like the treasure it is…we don’t consume or discard it…but rather, care for and protect the family heirloom that it slowly becomes.
Now, let us be clear…our daughters are NOT for sale. They are not objects, available for purchase or for display. HOWEVER, the analogy of teaching our daughters to be diamonds, not grapefruits, still offers tremendous insight into how THEY can choose to value and present themselves to society…it might seem like grapefruits get more attention, but ultimately…it is a diamond that has more value.