Girls… Part 1

now some of you think that i would have no ability to talk about raising boys as i have never done it and don’t think i will get the opportunity, but you are wrong. i’ve got a bit of a bone to pick. it’s not a large bone, my dog would pass it by without interest, but it has been messing with my brain and so i am going to let that bad boy out. the number of times that i have heard people say that they are so glad they didn’t have girls has reached a somewhat appalling number and so i believe it is time to address what that comment does not only to the young women around you but to the grown woman you are speaking to…

here’s the deal: most of the time when i give a little bit of push-back on the comment there is an “i just mean dealing with the what they can wear/respecting their body so they don’t get pregnant” thing. oh that thing. if you think that it is hard to raise girls because they will want to dress provocatively and get all sorts of physical and so it would be difficult for me because i will have to have those hard conversations, i would reply (in my nicest way possible, but quite firmly as my temp is rising at this point) that maybe the reason that it is so hard to have a girl is because you think you do not have to have hard conversations with your boys. oh no she didn’t! yes, yes i did and i will say it again. the rampant “girl problems” of this generation are not unique and they are not existing from some super high emotional big bang theory. they exist because the standard in this country of what a girl can and should be is more twisted than it is possible to even wrap my head around, and after having worked with young adolescent girls for 12 years i can tell you it is not getting better.

if you are a mom of girls, think really hard about what it is that you value and how your perception of what it is good and right for your girls to become is shaping how you attempt to mold them. if you are a mom of boys do the same, is there an intentional attempt on your part to teach them how to value and respect women? does this lesson include their peers or are we breeding a southern bless-your-heart mentality where respect means you say “yes ma’am” to the mom right before taking her daughter out to see how much you can pressure her into? there is beauty and worth that runs deep in a woman, and the world desperately needs this. if you crush it, if you mar it till it is no longer recognizable for what it was created to be, if you even simply discount it and pass by it as if it were not precious it is not only the girls who suffer. the whole world suffers.

i do not believe that if you think less of women, but keep it somewhat to yourself or only share it with other men then no one suffers as a result. when i first moved to north carolina i got to hang out one night with two men who were working for the same place i was and as we began talking about men and women and the differences between them one of these young men spoke rather harshly about women. when i pushed him on it he said he had never met a woman he respected… that he felt deserved his respect. i had about a gazillion issues with this comment, but sought to get to know a bit more of his story. what enabled me to dig deeper into his story instead of push him out of the moving vehicle we were in was that i knew that his view of women was crippling him. i felt genuine compassion for someone so young who felt he was so wise that he could discount half the population because they didn’t deserve his 21 year old respect. as we dove deeper into the conversation i became aware that he was hoping to be married someday. i asked if he respected his future wife and he got defensive and thought i was trying to trap him. i was not trying to trap him, but i was trying to take the veil a bit from his eyes, you cannot marry, serve, love and honor someone you do not respect. if he has a baby girl what then? God saved “very good” for after he had made man and woman in his image. if you are going to give women less respect and honor than they deserve, prepare to settle for a life of “eh”. a life where you miss the beauty of what we were uniquely created to bring to the table.

wednesday’s post will address being thankful to not have girls because they are so emotional/ needy and friday we will finish it off with a post to moms of girls revealing what i think is key to impress upon them (after working with adolescent girls for 12 years) and some creative ways to work together to instill these in our young ladies. please feel free to give feedback on particular aspects of this phenomenon or with tips for fridays discussion! let’s help each other.

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3 Responses to Girls… Part 1

  1. Ellen says:

    Just so ya know, I get a ton of comments about how thankful people are not to have all boys. A lovely person on the playground told me once, “Wow! God must think you’re really special.” Um, thanks? Because apparently boys are dirty barbarians who cannot control themselves, and we shouldn’t expect much from them because they’re boys. And then they will be teenage boys, and God help me because they will start dealing drugs and wrecking my car every day…. Blah…

  2. James says:

    Interesting perspective.

    Of course I will have conversations with my son about respecting women … and by corollary, respecting himself.

    Still, I believe that the society in which we live and the manner in which it objectifies women makes it harder to be the parent of a girl. My daughter will be pressured to conform to a standard of beauty to which men aren’t … she will – at some point – inevitably be pressured to have sex by someone who may or may not genuinely care about her.

    I want my little girl to grow measuring her self worth according a value system that isn’t inextricably hinged with larger pop culture influenced expectations. This is, perhaps, the only place where I find religion to be a valuable tool because of its absolute steadfastness in a sea of ever loosening moral values.

    But most of what is preached in organized religion cuts against my core values. I think there’s a way to imbue my kids with the values I deem important … but it’s going to require lots of thought on the part of me and my wife.

  3. Pingback: Girls…Part 3 | The Joy of Pregnancy...and other lies.

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