This little girl of mine always has her eye on me. She watches what I do, how I speak and is starting to imitate things I do. She's studying me intently...even at 13 months old.
Already, I can feel the burden of being a good example to her. It's a good burden, but not one I take lightly. I want to live it out in a practical way for her.
In his book, Family First Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family : Dr. Phil McGraw says: "The most powerful role model in any child's life is the same-sex parent. It's a fact that children learn vicariously by observing the behavior of others and noting the consequences of their actions. They watch what happens to family members when they succeed or fail and those experiences become a reference for how they live. This is known as modeling."
I grew up with some great women to model myself after. Women who were awesome wives and mothers. Women who were successful in their careers. Most importantly, women who loved and LIVED Jesus Christ.
They taught me about:
These are not popular topics...even among today's "Christian" women. In fact, if you wholeheartedly believe in and live out these traits you'll likely be labeled legalistic or just old-fashioned. Instead of turning to the Bible as the blueprint for what it means to be a woman, many turn to television, magazines, their friends or where their heart leads them.
A lot of women today are living out womanhood according to Love and Hip Hop Atlanta or Basketball Wives or __________ insert any reality show where the women fight, cuss and are wearing the latest designer clothes while doing it. Many of these shows focus on women's lives where:
Sex and money rule.
Marriage is undervalued.
Fighting, cussing is the norm.
Career trumps home.
And if you've seen an episode of any of these shows, you can add your items to the list.
While the world is parading their definition of womanhood in our faces, I want to present biblical womanhood to this little girl of ours as best I can. I want her to know these things:
- According to Genesis 1, a woman was design to be a "helper" which is nothing to look down upon. Today's women look at being a helper as a second-class citizen. Even was not created above or below Adam; she was complementary. She was created from his rib (which is a strong and protective bone) and taken from his side. Adam was given a fitting companion. Eve was "just right" for him. women, we are not The Help i.e. nannies, maids or cooks, we are divinely created and gifted complements to the men we marry. Most women I know don't want to be a helper to a man. They want to be the leader, but that's not how we are created.
- The value of purity, modesty and chastity. These days if you are a virgin until marriage something must be wrong with you and "trying before you buying" is the norm.
- Submission is not a bad word and there are limits to submission (not to submit to abuse or sin).
- The value of inner beauty that lasts forever.
- How to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit. These days women have abandoned these traits in favor of being brash, argumentative and loud in an effort to be heard and not be viewed as a pushover. They're quick to jump in your face if you cross them wrong and have unteachable spirits. However, having a gentle and quiet spirit does not mean being a wimp. It means we can be confident but not forceful. Outspoken but humble. And slow to speak, communicating Scriptual truth and wisdom.
While this list is counter-cultural, I hope to instill in this little girl, who has been gifted to us, the courage to live life against the grain at times. Of course, I've got a long road ahead of me. I don't want to raise a basketball wife or a lady of love and hip-hop. I don't even want to raise a good girl. I'm shooting for raising a Godly girl. May I not just preach this to her, but be a living example as well.
"Our conduct has a direct influence on how people think about the gospel. The world doesn't judge us by our theology; the world judges us by our behavior. People don't necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible. They want to see if what we believe makes a difference in our lives. Our actions either bring glory to God or misrepresent His truth."
--Carolyn Mahaney from the book Feminine Appeal