Saturday, February 9, 2013

Raising A Purpose Driven Daughter

I had breakfast with this cute face today.

I stood up in my chair to get my favorite arial views

Shlya thought this gave her permission to stand on the table.

A review of her sweet spirit.

This week my friend sent me  this article called "3 Things Your Little Girl Needs From You That You May Not Realize."  The article made me so super uncomfortable, but also extremely thankful that the secular and religious communities are beginning to speak out against oversexualizing this generation of little girls.

This made me examine my own parenting heart and the way Luke and I are molding Shyla to be a purpose driven little girl in a culture that worships sex and money and laughs in the face of purpose and integrity.

The first thing I need to relinquish is my control.  I have a limited amount of control over what my daughter is exposed to when she is out of my care.  This is a frightening, but real truth.  I don't have control over who she becomes best friends with or the kind of music she will desire to listen to one day.  As much as I want to think I have control, I don't.  I gave that up in my prayer and reflection time this morning.

But here is what I do have:  Influence and Prayer

I want to influence my daughter through my own life.  I want to show her that life is about following God's purpose for your life.  It is about answering to your God-given spiritual talents.  For me that is living a creative, art-filled life.  Shyla is a part of my creative life. She sees me create art and photograph.  We go down to the art studio together and create pictures and talk about colors.  I photograph her dressing up in my high heels, being silly, making funny faces.  I want her to feel important in those moments where she is being uniquely her.  I also want her to see me in my own moments where I am living up to my own purposeful potential. When she turns 3 this summer, Shyla is going to begin volunteering with me at food kitchens.  She is going to being seeing my heart for social justice and the poor.

I also want to pray that God molds Shyla's heart to be a gift and light to others in a world that is so broken.
I pray that she chooses integrity over dishonesty, redemption over deterioration, purpose over indifference, and heart over desire.

So when it comes to raising a purpose driven daughter, I am giving up trying to control the outcome and instead choosing to live a life that will influence her to follow God's heart and live out those passions.  And Lord  have mercy, I can't do any of this without a little P-R-A-Y-E-R and C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y.

She will fail and fall short over and over again.  But thats okay because we model grace in this house.


julie johnson said...

From my friend Stefanie Pastuch-Poteet (Was gonna post to blog but I think I ran out of characters - ?) The responsibility for raising our daughters falls not only on those who have them, but parents of boys as well. It has long been on my mind that whether I was raising a girl or boy, there was going to be intention there as to my role in shaping how my child treats girls and women. There should be no parent who thinks they've been spared the frightening experience of raising a girl in this world simply because they do not have a daughter themselves. The lessons we teach our sons certainly will affect daughters; boys are the other side of the coin, so to speak.

I also want to touch on the idea of letting go of the control over everything Shyla is exposed to, and to give you kudos for doing so. So often in our culture, we turn to law to handle these sorts of issues. I will never forget the recent brouhaha over a statue in the OP Arboretum. One mom (followed by many other whack jobs) lead a campaign to get rid of a statue whose figure's breasts were exposed. The message of the statue played with ideas around idols in our culture. I don't know if the artist had quite intended for it to so ironically capture the lack of parenting rampant in this country. Rather than taking advantage of an awesome teachable moment, the offended parties fought to have it removed. I thought about all the different ways I would address the statue with my own child and how it would create understanding, tolerance, consideration, artistic appreciation, and foster creativity in my own child...I felt sad for the children who instead were taught that anything that makes you uncomfortable should be fought and eliminated without further thought or question. For the record, I thought the piece of art was visually unappealing. But I don't believe just because I think so, it is, or that because of that, it has no value.
Thanks for sharing this and growing the idea that was passed onto you.

julie johnson said...

My response to stefanie via facebook:
Julie Ann Johnson I feel like I need to post this somewhere in the comments section on my blog. I agree, this isn't just about girls. I will be facing the same issue about parenting with Asher as I do with Shyla. That is a great point. As far as the moms in OP who are afraid of boobs---seriously? I think as a culture we spend so much time trying to protect our kids from being uncomfortable that we end up doing them a disservice. I love this!

Tara said...

I really think that as parents we have a huge responsibility to train up our children in a Godly way and I strongly believe that by providing them the tools they need to succeed later in life does a great justice for them. I do agree with your friend that as a mother to a boy it is crucial to teach them to respect, and honor women. It falls on all of us... its sad that there is such a lack of true "parenting" in our society.