StartFragmentToday's #ThoughtfulThursday comes to us from one of our newest 2017-18 TCM Interns: Jaden Lawson.

Pageants teach life skills such as growth in confidence, personality, positive self image, and interview skills. Many people argue the negative aspects of these contests, but there are just as many benefits that play huge roles in confidence and positive self imaging which many teens, especially girls, are lacking world wide. In today's society with bullying on the rise, girls need an avenue where we can unite as a team of strong and confident role models for girls across the world.

Another common misconception people have of pageants is that it's all about the glitz, glamour, and who is the prettiest; but what most people don't know is that winning the pageant is not only accepting the title, but also gives one the chance to “advocate a platform” or use the title to address an issue and others a place where they can go to feel important. The BRAVE platform promotes building respect and values for everyone through a classroom, library, and community presentations. This program was designed for school aged children and their parents to create awareness and promote a bully-free and safe environment. The mission is to reduce the effects of bullying and awareness of bullying in the community.

Pageants are looked upon as just beauty and beauty in itself, but, personally I have grown much more as a person. In today's society technology is such a priority many children do not know how to interact with one another therefore hide behind the confinements of a computer screen, phone, or tablet. Because of this, often times we do not know how to show our true feelings. Pageantry teaches us that it is okay to be ourselves. We may not always come home with the actual "crown" but we ALWAYS come home with a life lesson. “The sparkly tiara is just a little plastic hat. What really matters is making a difference, and I want to change the world. The bling is just a bonus,” says Miss Arizona USA 2012, Erika Frantzve. As someone who has come home with the crown several times there has also been times where I did not, and this has taught me persistence and perseverance.

As one can see, the benefits of child beauty pageants can help a child succeed in the pageant world and in life. An increase in confidence can help a child in many ways socially and culturally. From participating more in school, to eventually applying for jobs. Being a friendly outgoing child is key to being crowned Grand Supreme at the pageants, but that isn't where it ends. Outgoing children are more likely to make friends and have a better awareness about one’s self-image and self-esteem. As these benefits continue to impact their lives there are also other aspects of the stage life that can change them for better or for worse.