Tuesday, March 13, 2012

for daughters

Remember when you were in elementary school and the boys would tease and pull your hair? And what did your mama or the teachers tell you? “It’s just because he likes you!” I caught myself saying that to one of my children the other day, which brought to mind this post:
You Didn't Thank Me For Punching You in the Face - Views from the Couch

I’m just thinking through what I’m teaching my daughters. I absolutely believe the little boys sometimes just don’t know what to do with their feelings, and they act aggressively. But this post made me think: is it good to teach my little girls that that’s ok? Is it good to, even unintentionally, sow little seeds into their brains that might eventually cause them to think that abuse, be it physical, sexual, or emotional, is an indication of love?

This might be a little past when it would have been culturally timely, but I’ve just been stewing over it for awhile. Raising my daughters fills me with much more trepidation than when I think about bringing up my boys. Even today, there aren’t a ton of places for them to look for positive messages about girls. Or maybe it’s just that the negative overshadows the positive. Clearly not even young entertainers are being taught good, safe messages about abuse:
Chris Brown And Rihanna Are Making Music Again - And Sending A Dangerous Message - My Brown Baby

I believe in forgiveness. I want to model that for my daughters, but I don’t want them to think that forgiveness means reentering a terrible situation. That it means that what happened was ok. Abuse is not love. When it comes to dating relationships, I don’t believe that you should ever allow an abuser back into your life. How do I teach my daughters healthy boundaries? I’ve met abused women; while I don’t understand it fully, I have seen what it can do to a woman’s psyche. How do I keep my daughters from ever entering that cycle?

No answers here yet. Just a commitment to continue to pour love and affection into my daughters’ lives. Both from me and their dad. A commitment to teach them healthy and accurate identity. Filling up their little lives with affirmation for them as women.

Dear sweet, sweet daughters of mine: You are loved. You are valuable. You are beautiful. I pray that I do this whole parenting thing right, but if I don’t, that doesn’t change who you are. That doesn’t change whose you are. You, precious girls, are women of God, holy and dearly loved. Worth enough for the God of the Universe to humble himself and enter our world. Worth enough for Him to die so you wouldn’t have to. You are worth everything. You were created just the way you are for a great and glorious purpose. Never settle for less.