Sunday, January 1, 2012

What I Hope My Daughters Understand

I've always loved to read. It's just my favorite. Over the Christmas break from school, I've been catching up on my Young Adult books that I put in my library at school. Man, there are some weird books out there. I'm all down with faeries and vampires and ghosts--whatever--but I'm seeing a really odd bend toward Nothingness. What I mean is an overall tone of despair, sadness, with parents who aren't involved or observant in the lives of their kids. It reads like a generation desperate to believe in something, anything. It's difficult to read once you notice it, because it's so demoralizing.

There are two kinds of girls in YA fiction:

The first group is made up of beautiful, cruel, mean, snobs who are deliberately tearing down the people around them in order to crawl to the top of the dead bodies and be queen. They are almost always sexually active, dressed provocatively, act out without any supervision or repercussions to their behavior, and are manipulative, evil people to their core. It's a case of the outside not matching the inside.

The second group are made up of main characters who are plain, dowdy, and unrecognized who come out of their shells by dressing differently (usually sluttier), getting contacts, and changing their hairstyles. That, or the main female character discovers some sort of "superpower". (This could be playing boys football or seeing supernatural characters.) She makes some mistakes, but it always a ugly duckling/swan scenario.

This type of thing just goes directly against what we are desperately teaching our girls. You don't have to be beautiful and mean or plain with a heart of gold. They aren't mutually exclusive states. Also, beauty is absolutely in the eye of the beholder. What one boy finds attractive might actually be repulsive to the Right Boy. It's why God made us in so many different shapes and sizes--so that everyone can find his/her flavor.

Here is what I want to discuss with my children after reading these novels:

I am involved in your life whether you like it or not. I will know where you go, what you do, and who you are doing with it. I will check up on you, because this is how honest people stay honest--accountability.

You're right--I don't trust you to always make the best decisions. This is why you are a child and not yet an adult. But even more than that, I don't trust anyone next to your person, and it's my number one priority to keep you safe and sound to let you continue to be a child for awhile longer. (Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.; Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.)

You do not call the shots in this house. I am the parent. I am not your best friend. This means that I will take action if you confide in me, and sometimes you won't like me. I don't care. My job is to raise you in the fear of the Lord, not to win a popularity contest. Don't worry; I'm tough enough to take it. Parents? You need to be where your kids are and have an active, responsible role in the lives of your children.

You are beautiful not because the world thinks so, but because your Heavenly Father says so. The standard of beauty changes from year to year. Your body type or hair type might be in fashion this year and out next year. You cannot rely on your face or body to make you or others happy. You might lose either or both of those sooner rather than later. Breast cancer, car accidents, surgeries, pregnancy will all change your body irreparably. (Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.)
You are not plain. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a work of art. You are the house of the Living God. You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are the Bride of Christ. And those things have nothing to do with the size of your jeans or the curl in your hair or the clothes on your body. (Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.)

The world does not revolve around  you. In fact, you are usually inconsequential to everyone in the world outside of me and your father. You cannot go around being cruel to people you perceive to be beneath you, because eventually you will be 'beneath' someone else, and they will return the favor.

One day there is going to be a man who sees you as you really are. Wait for that one. Don't settle for anything less. It's better to be alone than with just anyone. Life is too short to kill time in your relationships

Be the kind of person that influences others by just being and living a life that honors the Lord in your actions, your words, your activities, your dedication, and your love. Grow in your faith and in your spiritual relationship and God will provide the increase at the right time. Don't settle for ordinary or mean just because you are beautiful.


kaleec said...

Thanks for the reminder Ms. Charlotte. This girl knows her mom feels the same way and today I needed that reminder of all the things she has taught me about who (or rather whose) I am. Happy 2012!!

Dora said...

Wow --- right on, Charlotte. You are amazing.