My 4-year-old is really into princesses right now.
If yours isn't, you should count yourself lucky.
Some days it's funny, like the day she was strolling down the hallway chanting, "I'm a princess, I'm a princess," with her high heels and dressup dress (a gift from my mother), and biffed it over a pillow she'd left lying around. She looked around to see if anyone had noticed and said under her breath, with awe-inspiring determination, "I'm still a princess."
I don't worry too much about this phase. I went through it, and I am decidedly not princess material. Jeans and no makeup have been my uniform of choice for decades.
My husband, on the other hand, despises anything remotely princess-like, particularly the attitude that comes with it.
He knows he can't diss on what she loves, though. She's both stubborn and sensitive, so he'd hurt her and drive her away in one snarky comment.
So he says, "Remember, a princess takes care of her people."
Now as she twirls around with her light-up wand (also from my mother; thank God someone indulges this side of my little sweetie), she says, "I take care of my people."
Today I decided to show her a real princess who took care of not only her people, but so many others, too.
Whatever you think (or don't bother thinking) about Princess Diana's life, her commitment to the outcast was truly remarkable.
And when she touched people with leprosy, I couldn't help but think of Jesus doing the same.
So today I showed my daughter a few videos of the People's Princess doing what she seems to have loved most: showing compassion.
Despite its poor quality, this is the video that moves me the most:
It was Diana's work to end the stigma of leprosy that I recalled when I was invited to visit a leper colony myself while I lived in South Korea.
A Korean friend of mine was a fellow English teacher. She was a Catholic, and Catholics and Protestants don't always get along in Korea. But she had a Protestant minister in her class, and they developed a mutual respect and kind of friendship for each other.
Prior to his living in our city, he had been assigned to work in a leper colony. When he got there, he found a group of victims dependent on charity for their survival.
This wasn't good enough for this man whose name I've forgotten (we only met the one time). He encouraged the people to do work and support themselves.
He took my friend and me to the colony, where we witnessed remarkable transformation. In the midst of their suffering, this group of people had started a massive chicken farm. They fed themselves and lived comfortably on the proceeds of the eggs they sold.
I remembered Diana touching the people with leprosy and found the courage to do so myself.
If my daughter can emulate even a bit of Diana's care for people, I'll be happy if she plays princess every day of her life.