Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Train Up a Daughter

One of my (and my husband's) favorite verses is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."

When the majority of my children were preschool age, this verse spoke to me largely in the aspect of training, meaning teaching them how to behave, how to listen and most importantly how to obey.  Now that the vast majority of my children are well past toddlerhood and in their schoolage years, it is begining to take on a new meaning. I'm looking past teaching them to be well behaved children and into their adult years.  I'm viewing their training in the sense of preparing them for adulthood.

As a homeschooling mom, some of that is academic, preparing them to be successful in college and in their career choice.  Some of that is home related, preparing them to maintain their homes physically and relationally.  Some of that is in choosing their "career paths".

When you have girls, the idea of choosing a career path leads to extra complications.  I want my daughters to be able to support themselves should they ever need to.  I want them to be compentent to succeed in the world in any way in which they choose.  I don't want to dash hopes and desires of being doctors and business women.  Yet at the same time I hope they choose to first be moms and wives.  I would love nothing more than my daughters all choosing to be stay at home moms, wives, ministering to their families and communities. 

Yet, one never knows when, or if, a girl will marry.  I want her prepared to lead a single life, competently, whether living in my home in her early single years or living alone.  This poses many problems for moms.  How do I encourage her to follow her dreams of being a (insert profession here) without making the alternative of being a keeper of the home a short term, temporary, second thought?

Many women who choose to stay at home during her childrens' preschool years, or even all of school years, think in the terms of temporary.  We have gotten to the point in our culture where we are usually tolerant of stay at home moms, even encouraging.  Yet a stay at home wife?  No kids to care for?  Should this truly be something young girls aspire to?

It is seems sad that society accepts the idea of being a mommy, yet being fullfilled in being a wife is, well misunderstood.  While our children will always be a part of our lives, they will not always be the main focus of our lives, but our marriage should be.  We should be as committed to being wives as we are being moms.  It is my desire that my girls would see modeled the idea of the wife being the part of the whole that handles home care while her husband shall be the part of the whole that handles the majority of the financial provision.  I want them to see that a woman at home is as financially valuable in her ability to help save money through her resources and resourcefulness as well as any homebased financial endeavors she shall provide.  I pray that they will see the emotional/relational value to helping a husband be a minister, no matter his profession. 

But this is a life choice they must make for themselves.  Short of modeling and mentioning it in passing during the occasional "What do you want to be when you grow up" conversations, there is no real way to "force" this desire upon them.  No matter how much you want your child to be a doctor, you cannot make them do it.  The same goes for being a professional keeper of the home. 

And adding to that complexity is that I believe every girl needs to have skills that would allow them to support themselves in the event it become necessary.  So, my problem:  How do I encourage my daughter in her dream of being a doctor and in being a homemaker?

I'm linking this to Raising Homemakers Homemaking Linkup.  Check out the other posts!

1 comment:

  1. Though your discussion is geared to females, I feel I am not left out of the issue. sociology is a fascinating study. I am not so well versed in it, but the shallow dip into that pool has given me an appreciation for it's complexity. Mores, norms, taboos, and the like are social, cultural boundaries that individuals don't make up for themselves; not if they don't want to incur the wrath of "the village". Think of the 60's and how the hippies were looked upon when they dared to break from tradition, and rebel against the status quo. Society is an animated dynamic entity that carries momentum. It resists change, and not entirely for bad reasons. Settling into a "groove" has a stabilizing effect on our lives. Well, since the 60's, how stable do we feel about our lives. I dare say, "Not all that stable."

    What am I getting at? The idea of a woman being the primary care giver to children, and being the main homemaker does not, in my opinion, mean that she is doomed to lead a boring and frustrated existence. If "the man" is away from the home all day long, every day, and she is at home, I can visualize that situation as getting a bit lonely. I've heard women talk about craving some mature conversation. And then "hubby" comes home from work. He's been stretched and drained and mostly "on" , and he comes home seeking a place to "be "off". She blind sides him with her tactical quest for something resembling a relationship, and he's "off". Does that sound like fun yet? How many young girls look at this "nightmare" and think, "THAT'S what I want for MY life."

    I know it's not EXACTLY like this in EVERY household across America, but it seems to be the characterization of married life. Why? Maybe because it's rests in a reasonable measure of truth. But why is it like this? How can it be so easy to fall into this culdesac? Might have something to do with ... values, self perception, goals, expectations, opportunities, Might have something to do with the economy? It's not a simple answer.

    So, what does a parent do about instilling the children with values? What values? I reckon about the best thing we can do is live our lives as honestly as we can, adapt to the situations that come up and hope that our children see us responding to the changing landscape of our society with principles we value. They need to know how to adapt to any situation and still operate from their core values. Where do kids get their values? I suspect they watch their parents VERY closely, and I suspect that,even thought they might go through a phase of "rebellion" always fall back on their experiences at home in their youth.

    No you cannot MAKE them hold specific values, and you cannot make them become people they don't WANT to be, but YOU can be the kind of person you want to be and exercise the values you hold to, and they can watch, and process, and see how you feel about the life you've chosen.

    I give my son good advice. Sometimes he listens and acts on it, and sometimes he doesn't. When he was younger I could make him do this or that, but he's becoming his own person, and I want him to. He's going to make mistakes, and he's going to suffer for some of his choices; I did; we all do. I want him to know that we have an eternal bond, even if he makes choices I don't like.

    We live in a changing world. What's the best way to cope with constant change? What guides our decision making processes? When is compromise acceptable and when do we draw a line? Values are internalized, but I don't know how this process occurs. It's a process that involves willful choices deep inside the human soul. What is the real world like? What is true?

    How's that for early morning rambling?

    ReplyDelete

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Holiday World 2011!

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