Jennifer Bankson is a loving, concerned parent who has practically made a career of encouraging her young daughter, Cassandra, who suffers with an extreme case of cystic acne.
Cassandra was mercilessly bullied for the large cysts and deep crater marks that scarred her face, neck, shoulders and back. She did what she could to mask it, but schoolmates would still taunt her, “throwing pennies at her to mimic the large pimples on her face, and pulling up her long, dark hair to expose the acne on her neck.”
Cassandra eventually changed schools, but the bullying and taunting followed her.
Fortunately, the love and encouragement of her Mom, Jennifer, was always there to uphold her. “Despite how bad I felt about myself,” she said, “my mom always saw the best in me. Every day she would see past the acne scars to my real beauty."
All of that encouragement ended up inspiring Cassandra to not only embrace her own inner beauty, but to reach out and help others who similarly struggled to embrace there own. With great courage and humility, Cassandra, at age 19, began filming and posting videos exposing her acne, sharing cover-up tips and tricks, discussing treatment options, and most of all encouraging others to accept themselves as she had learned from her own mom. The videos went viral, with some posting over 3 million views!
With Cassandra’s new found internet celebrity, mom Jennifer realized that she was dispensing lots of truth and encouragement to her young daughter, but she wasn’t practicing what she preached. Filled with self-doubt, Jennifer was still habitually putting her own self down for every little body imperfection, making self-deprecating comments about her “flabby arms” and “muffin top,” and making unsolicited excuses for any extra weight she was carrying.
“But seeing Cassie's confidence in exposing her biggest insecurity made me heed my own advice. … Once I stopped putting myself down mentally and verbally, it changed the dynamic of my interactions. I find that people respect me more and I feel more confident.”
“I'm so proud that my mom finally embraced the lesson she taught me: Love yourself."
Moms, you have the power to embolden and encourage your kids like none other. But just like our spouses, our kids can be a window to our own souls. Allow them to reflect back those areas in our own lives where we, as well, need to stretch and grow.
“… take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your child’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, cf Luke 6:42).