Friday, July 4, 2008

It's a GIRL Thing

The other night I was in the kitchen making a blackberry pie. The phone rang and Kevin answered it, talked for a few minutes then came quickly into the kitchen. In an almost panic-tone he said "can you make another one of those?" I said sure, but why? He replied "the aunts are coming, the AUNTS ARE COMING!" He had forgotten that his three aunts were coming for a visit, and so did I. The phone call was from one of them who needed directions and that was his reminder that 'the aunts were coming!'. It made me laugh first, because it sounded like he was saying the ants are coming, and he wanted a pie for them. I know I'm supposed to be a kind and charitable hostess, but I draw the line at baking pies for ants!

The other reason it made me laugh, was due to my next thought. "Men just don't get it". Part of being a good mom/wife/homemaker/hostess is being able to simply produce a nice dessert at moment's notice. Either by whipping up something from what you have in the cupboard, or by dashing to the closest grocery store and leaping produce/bakery/baking supply aisles in a single bound! :-) I know it sounds impressive, but it's a learned talent (for most of us) and the longer you do it, the more it just becomes part of what you do. Maybe some men do get it, and maybe they just forget when those last minute phone calls come in.

This got me to thinking about something that's really been on my mind a lot lately. In general that is the clear and definitely seperate roles of men and women, but more specifically how we deliver that message to our little boys and little girls, in the face of a culture that desperately wants those roles blurred, confused, and flipped around. As Christian parents, we want our little girls to become honorable young women, and we want our little boys to grow into respectable young men. Our culture on the other hand, has a monumentally different message for them, and its a horrible, mixed up, anti-Biblical message.

Two of our girls are 9 and 10 years old. They are at just the right age to begin having "girl talks" with mom. Its a much different world for them than it was for me, when I was 10. I think I had one question for mom at 10 (that question was, to be perfectly honest: "why do I have to wear a shirt in the summer when it's SO hot, and my brother doesn't, when we look exactly the same from the waist up?" Mom explained, and while I didn't like it, I did have to put a tank top on. It was the first time it really occured to me that things were about to change, and I was NOT impressed), and then I was back outside jumping my dirtbike over homemade bike jumps, climbing the pear tree or rollerskating around the block. Growing up in Smalltown USA we had only 4 television channels and so my brain (and the brains of all the other kids my age) wasn't flooded with slick, racy media images that kids today are bombarded with. Growing up in the early 70's, it was a different culture alltogether than it is for them, and girls were different at 10 years old. The talks I'm finding myself having with them at this age, are the talks I had with my mom at about 15 or 16. It's not easy to give them the right information without over-giving. At 15 they would understand better the things that they're asking about at 10, and yet they're still asking. In a sense, culture is shoving them into an age they're not ready for, and none of us can really stop it.

One of the things I'm planning to begin in the fall, is having a GIRLS ONLY class with those two. We'll be doing the Beautiful Girlhood (32 character training lessons), with each of them having their own daily journal. I did this book with my almost 18 yr old when she was 13, but by then it was already too late, in the sense that she was already pushed along by our culture at that age, and found the book boring and old fashioned. Truth be told, it actually is old fashioned.

Here are a few chapter headings:

Beautiful Girlhood • From the Child to the Woman
• Making Herself Beautiful
• Watch Your Tongue!
• Sincerity
• Friendships
• A Conversation on Dress
• Making Friends of Books
• Boyfriends
• A Girl Who Can Be Trusted

Indeed it is old fashioned in the sense that the character traits promoted in this book are biblical character traits. It doesn't exalt dressing like a Hoochie Mama, or filling your ears with angst-ridden pop music. It doesn't endorse laughing at bathroom humor, and it calls gossip exactly what it is, a sin. It doesn't excuse away snarky, self-absorbed attitudes but promotes the outrageous idea of considering the thoughts and feelings of others. If you took all the tv shows, movies and music that are aimed at pre-teen and teenage girls, the lessons in this book would be the exact opposite of most of the messages you'll find there. It promotes honesty, humility, hospitality, modesty, education and purity. It's a FANTASTIC book, no question about it.

How I wish I would have had this book when I was about 13 years old, and started having questions about the kind of girl I should be, and wanted to be. I remember when my older girl did the lessons, I really wanted to spend more time with her on it but I had two kindergarteners and a toddler, and time just got away from me. Before I knew it, she was done with the book and that was that. This trip through, I'm going to get a journal for myself and not just teach through the book, but take the lessons myself. I don't think it's ever too late to have a beautiful girlhood, even if you're a mom already.

Great Christian t-shirts and gift ideas for the whole family