Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What We Need to Tell Our Daughters

I posted this on my family blog back in August 2013 after Miley strutted her way across stage half dressed. There's a lot going on now that says our girls are still missing this message. And here's the thing. You can tell your daughters all the stuff below over and over, but you can't make them take it to heart and make it their own. You can only hope they do and be there for them when they don't.

The real title of this post is: "Things to make sure your daughter knows so one day she doesn't strut across a stage half naked losing all dignity and honor."

Not too many positive role models for our girls come out of Hollywood. But they could. Because any girl/young lady can make choices that make her a young woman of faith and dignity. I mention dignity because of Proverbs 31:25-26, 30 which says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

These are good verses for our girls. But girls aren't always encouraged to make the right choices or to be the kind of woman mentioned in the verses, so it's up to us as parents to guide them into becoming women of faith. Women of dignity. Women of character. It should start long before their first steps, but if not, start today.

Here are some things we need to tell our daughters.
(I added some resources to help with this. Some are written by me, some are not.)

  1. Guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." The things you see stay with you. The things you read stay with you. The music you listen to has a message that stays with you. Use Philippians 4:8 as a guide for what you see and hear.
(Check out the movies you want to watch at Plugged In online to find out what they really contain HERE)

  2. Celebrate you! Psalm 139:13-14 says, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it." God made you who you are. He gave you the personality, talents and abilities you need in order to be who he created you to be. It's okay to work at those things and improve yourself, but don't wish you were someone else. You cheat yourself. You cheat others. Only you can be the you God made.
(Check out The Christian Girl's Guide to Me: The Quiz Book for fun ways to find out more about what makes you special HERE and Promises for God's Princesses HERE, or My Princess Devotions for the smallest princesses HERE.)

  3. God has an amazing plan for you. Jeremiah 29:11 was written to the Jews in exile, but it's true for you too. "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." You are not here by accident. God has things for you to do. That's why #2 is so important. God gifted you with what you need to fulfill his plan for you. Don't sell yourself short or settle for less than the best. Going along with what everyone else is doing might be the easy road, but it's not the best one. God wants more than that for you.
(Check out The Christian Girl's Guide to Being Your Best for great advice, fun quizzes and doable crafts to help you discover all you can be HERE.)

  4. Every choice you make is important. It's easy to act without thinking or go along with the crowd. But each choice matters, even the little ones. Choices turn into behaviors, and repeated behaviors become habits. Choices have consequences. Something you do on impulse to make others laugh or get attention may not have the outcome you plan. Weigh each choice and ask yourself if this is a good thing for you and for others. Think through big decisions and discuss them with a responsible adult.

  5. Don't be an attention seeker. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." It's okay to get attention for good grades, good sportsmanship on the playing field, singing a solo, making the debate team or helping out in the community, but don't let that be the only reason you do them. And never lower yourself for attention. Twerking half dressed in front of a million viewers will surely get attention—the wrong kind. Is that attention worth losing people's respect, dishonoring God, and losing all dignity and integrity?

 6. Your purity is your gift to your husband. I know people don't think this way anymore, but saving yourself helps you avoid guilt and emotional baggage. Cover up and don't display to the world what you are saving for your husband. You can dress with style and still be modest. Add a cute high cut tank top under those scoop neck shirts. Put some fun leggings under the short skirts and dresses. Make your own fashion statement if you need to. Flaunting your half naked body in public doesn't show any creativity or imagination. Finding ways to be stylish and modest at the same time does.
(Check out The Christian Girl's Guide to Style for ideas HERE.)

  7. Being different is okay. You're not a freak because you don't sneak out to parties, make out with boys, wear a swimsuit that looks more like underclothing than something you could swim in, disrespect your parents or take part in questionable activities. Even a small light illuminates in a dark world. Be the light others need to find their way.
(Check out a Young Woman After God's Own Heart or a Girl After God's Own Heart HERE)

  8. Good manners never go out of style. Saying thank you, writing a note, giving deference to the elderly, respecting those in authority, taking turns, turning off your phone in restaurants and talking quietly and respectfully show that you know how to be polite. They put you a notch above others whether or not your friends agree.

  9. Your friends will influence you, so choose good ones. Proverbs 12:26 says, "The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray." Your friends are important. You talk to them about things you don't discuss with your parents. So make sure your friends are the kind that will give you good advice and encourage you to be your best, not go along with the crowd or be mediocre.
(Check out Girls Politics" Friends, Cliques and Really Mean Chicks HERE (teen girls) or A Girl's Guide to Best Friends and Mean Girls (preteen girls) HERE or Just for Me: Friends HERE (young girls))

 10. Live on/with purpose. Micah 6:8 says, "The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Simple, huh? Live intentionally. Live as a princess because you surely are as a child of the Heavenly King. Keep that in mind and the first nine points will fall into place.
(Check out: The One Year Devotions for Girls Starring Women of the Bible for a daily dose of inspiration all year long. HERE (girls 10-14), or The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible HERE (ages 8-12), The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids HERE or Just for Me: The Bible HERE (ages 5-8))

These are my thoughts. What other messages do we need to give our girls? What books and other resources have you found helpful?
Question for moms: This is what we need to tell our daughters, but what do we need to tell our sons? What do you think the biggest message they are missing is? Please share in the comment section.

Friday, September 18, 2015

It Starts with Labor

Motherhood: If it were going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor. Barbara Johnson

How true is that? Whether that labor is the physical toil of pushing a child out of your body or the emotionally draining work of home studies, background checks and an every shrinking band account, parenting starts with labor.

And it doesn't end when the child is born or arrives home. The work is just beginning. But remember this: Parenting isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. (Was James Dobson the one who said that?) We're told that we should read to our children, make the most of teachable moments, let them help with cooking and housework, check their homework, monitor their screen time, provide educational experiences, eat together as a family, take family vacations, keep scrapbooks or journals, attend PTO meetings, open houses, orientations and parent teacher conferences--or better yet, home school. And the list goes on. Thing is, you can't do all those things in the same day. So don't try. Do one thing. Just one. (I'm going to talk about doing one thing many more times on this blog!) That one thing a day adds up to 365 a year. So finger paint today and read a picture book tomorrow. 
(See what we read HERE) Go to a museum or botanical gardens today and start reading a classic aloud tomorrow. If you try to do it all at once, you'll go crazy. It's a short drive/walk for many of us.

So hang in there. And just do one thing today. What will it be?