Raising daughters to love Jesus in a society that is so secular presents unique challenges. We are blessed to have five daughters who, though not perfect, have a heart for God. We really enjoy spending time together and we have made a lot of fun memories through the years.
We embrace “the stares” from the crowds as we walk through with the all-girl ensemble. Strangers periodically approach us to say they enjoy watching our family have fun together. We’ve even had strangers offer to buy our meal on vacation because they just enjoyed watching the family dynamic! That is amazing to me!
At times, friends ask, “What are you doing with your girls? What’s the secret?” I do not know of a secret. We have an idea of what the end result is supposed to look like and we live each day trying to get closer to that mark! Recently, I asked a few of our older daughter their opinion and perspective of mom and dad’s child-raising philosophy…WARNING – this could be dangerous.
Outside of the work of the Holy Spirit and a mom who has determined to help be the keeper at home, these were their thoughts:
- You spell love T-I-M-E. From their perspective, they greatly appreciate that we include them in church activities, family outings, vacations, and just being together.
- You help foster open communication. Since the beginning, we have tried to train our daughters with the thought that they can tell us anything. Some of our daughters are more open in this respect; others we have to be patient and offer more encouragement. Yet, regardless of their temperament, they understand that home is a haven where open communication can take place.
- You help create memories. Sometimes the memories are as simple as always making family dinner a priority. We have a lot of memories (embarrassing ones for them!) that have been created around the table. Certain restaurants trigger other memories, and before you know it – five girls are laughing about something that happened five years ago.
- You confront our attitudes. Yep – girls can need attitude adjustments just like boys! Their sinful nature struggles with selfishness and pride just like mine. Yet, they know that these attitudes will be lovingly confronted.
- You model authenticity. Teens can be brutal when they sense someone is not genuine. Our children know more than just our “Sunday face” in church…They live with us!
- You set clear boundaries. Our daughters know that there are some lines drawn in the sand. Yet, the focus is not on the boundaries – it is on how much we can enjoy inside those boundaries.
- You pray with us. When there is a need, our children understand that mom and dad do not always have the answer – but we have access to Someone who does!
Some of you have already raised your children. Others are just getting started. Some are terrified by the fact that you will enter this race soon! Our children aren’t perfect, but we are grateful for the direction they are heading. Our job as parents is to continually access God’s grace that makes this possible and keep directing their attention toward Him.
I hope these random thoughts provide some encouragement for you as well!