Monday, October 26, 2009

The Secret to Raising Girls "These Days"

Remember that Facebook status in which I was begging for topics? Well, one of my friends wrote a long list of things she’d like to see me write about, and since I know she’s a faithful reader I thought I’d oblige as much as I can. Today I’m choosing her suggestion to write about thoughts on raising girls “these days.” (She put the quotation marks in there, not me.)

Since I have three daughters she must see me as somewhat of an expert on girls. I’m not sure about that—I don’t think there will ever be an expert on girls in this lifetime—but I’ll give you my take on how I look at raising them.

I’m guessing what my friend meant by “these days” is the day we live in. A day filled with uncertainty, a heightened sense of fear, and, of course, sexuality confronting them at every turn. A day of materialism and greed. A day of self-centeredness. A day lacking in moral courage.

O.K., looking at that list, I’m done in. There is no hope. The day in which we live is the worst possible day. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

You know what? Some days I can feel like that. I can feel like the world in which my girls are going to live really is the worst possible world. I can feel like my grandchildren have absolutely no future whatsoever because they won’t have any Social Security. I can look at it all swirling around me and want to go hide under the covers for a while because I feel like I don’t have any answers. The problems are just too big.

But then I realize that other generations must have felt the same way. Other generations faced a long and terrible war with many, many more fatalities than we are seeing today. Other generations saw greed. Other generations saw immorality.

And the parents of those generations did exactly what we are doing today. They put one foot in front of the other and continued on.

But what about raising girls specifically? What about the challenge of raising daughters in a confused generation? A generation that tells them that they can have it all without explaining that “all” comes with a cost. A generation that tells them that investing in the lives of others is not a worthy calling—surely there must be more. A generation that tells them that they should not really rely on another and that they should maintain their independence at any cost.

How do I raise girls in this atmosphere?

And to bring it home even more, girls “these days” are still girls. They are still mean to one another. They are still catty. They still lie to one another. And, oh boy, do they still get their feelings hurt!

All of the icky girl stuff that went on when we were teenagers and pre-teens still goes on today. It gets wearisome sometimes, believe me.

So looking at the world my girls will soon be entering, I have to ask myself, how do I prepare them? What can I possibly give them that will help them maneuver life’s tricky obstacles?

The answer: I can’t. I can’t give them anything in and of myself. In my own understanding and estimation, there is nothing at all that I can offer my daughters that will make their future any better than mine.

But Jesus.

The only thing I know about the future is that it is in the hands of a loving God who has given us everything we need in Christ Jesus. And the only thing I know to tell my girls is that the most fulfilling, most honest, most fruitful life they will ever have is a life lived hand-in-hand with Jesus.

This weekend I was reminded yet again that none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. In some sense, looking at the state of the world today, that might be a blessed relief. But when a young life is snuffed out in a random accident, as happened to the 19 year old daughter of some friends this weekend, you have to ask, “What really is most important? What really makes a life successful? What really matters?”

And to those questions I would have to tell my daughters that their future will only be secure in Jesus. Nothing else makes life meaningful. Nothing else fulfills.

Nothing else really matters.


  1. Thanks for the reminder, Shelly. And for your thoughtful consideration of tough issues . . . see, you ARE an expert!

  2. Amen my friend! Jesus, our only hope.

  3. "But Jesus."

    True words!! Thank you for putting this so beautifully and simply. As the mother of a little girl, I worry, too. It's good to hear from someone who's a little bit further down the road. But Jesus. I need to remember that more!!

  4. Shelly, from one mom of 3 girls to another, this article blessed me more than words can say. You are doing a fine job raising those beautiful girls. Thanks for posting this.

  5.'s all I have to say.

  6. "But Jesus." So simple. So profound. So grateful.

    You and B. are doing a wonderful job raising the girls. I, for one, never cease to be amazed at how beautiful they are--inside and out.

  7. Amen, thanks for sharing, I agree! Whether your raising girls or boys!

  8. Thank you for sending this link. Such rich truth. You have indeed inspired me friend.

    Thank you.

    And I love, love, love, love that your retreat verse was the same thing I wrote about today on my blog.

    How cool is that!

    Think of all the verses in the Bible, right?

    Love you sweet friend!!!!

  9. I'm making my way through some of your parenting posts today. Looking for some wisdom and direction. I'm so glad I know you and that you have already done what I'm doing.

    I feel like I'm sitting at your kitchen table with you having a cup of coffee, listening to your wisdom...

    I love you,

  10. I know this is an old post, but new to me! This is so dear to my heart as a mother to 4 girls and 2 boys. I need to watch over my girls and teach my boys about the girls that are out there, prowling. I actually posted about this today.