There are things in life I really don't like. Butterflies. Celery. The humidity of summer. Cloves. Manipulation. Paper cuts. Something being dropped on my foot. Clowns. Colic. Crowds.
This may be where you click the little X at the top of the page and move on. I'm okay with that. This may be the part where you contact the friend who sent you this link and tell them what a conservative, close minded moron I am and how I am living in the dark ages. I'm okay with that too.
But you know what I am not okay with, nor will I ever be okay with?
Children not being made to live their lives as children.
It's innate, isn't it? From the time we are old enough to realize we are younger than everyone in our play group (somewhere around the age of 1), we start trying to be older, bigger, and wiser than we really are. We make the same noises our older siblings make. We try to dress like them. Talk like them. Walk like them. Because they're older, they're cooler, they have more life experience than we do-- which infinitely pushes them up to the top of the awesome chain which we find ourselves the smallest and most insignificant link of. We hate the process of waiting. Whether it's in a drive-thru line for a cheeseburger or for a child to take his first steps, we want time to fly by quicker than it does. We live in an instant society. And from that tender age when we start measuring ourselves up to our older peers, we start realizing the lack that is found in the stage we are in.
"When I grow up, I'll get to stay up later, right Mom?"
"When I'm 10, I'll get to fly to Grandma's by myself."
"When I'm 16, I'll get to drive to the mall."
"When I'm 18, I'm out of here."
There's nothing unnatural about this process, and there's ultimately nothing wrong with the desire to mature. After all, that's what growth is all about. Wanting, striving, and moving toward being more. Being better. Being older.
Why being older? What is it about being older that so appeals to young ones and makes them so aggressive to attain it that they bypass childhood altogether and live as little adults from before puberty even hits them? What does being older mean? Well, I can only ascertain from what I see that it's not the immense responsibilities and stresses that come with adulthood that draws them in. It's not the art of balancing marriage/kids/work/family/friends/finances/church/extracurricular activities/health that tempts them like pickles to a pregnant woman. Could it be that they are only attracted to the parts that appeal to that devious nature inside each of them? Could it be that they are innately attracted to the shiny parts only, the rebellion flowing so deeply through them like an underground Amazon?
Could it be that those of us who ARE older are living a life that draws an unnatural desire forth in them to bypass time, decency, and even morality to attain it? Could it be that those of us who are older think older means we are free from responsibility and ethical compasses of our own?
I'm gonna go on. Feel free to read no further if you choose. But if you feel like championing this war we are in for the hearts of our children-- and in particular, the hearts of our girls, can I challenge you?
Our girls are being taught by society that being female equals being sexual. And because you're sexual, you must be provocative. After all, you have breasts and you should show them You have hips, and you should share them, And you have a rear-end that sticks out, so it should be paraded. Sex, and in particular, women in sexual situations sell everything. Give a well endowed woman a jar of mustard, stick her in front of a camera, and you can make millions off the yellow condiment, even if it tastes like mud. Want to sell the world's ugliest socks? Make a woman look like she's begging for sex and that those socks are the winning ticket, and you'll retire off the dividends. It. Is. Ridiculous. And yes, as much as I would love to place the blame for this on things like Victoria's Secret, the porn industry, and even the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, I'm afraid to report that the source of this problem is much closer to home.
Moms, the problem is us.
Think about it. What are we instilling in our girls when we buy them underwear that we didn't even wear until we were married? What does it say about getting physical attention when we throw them to the wolves by buying them sweatpants with a word written on the butt of them? What does it say to our young ladies about the eyes being the "gateway to the soul" when we ourselves are taking those ridiculously stupid bathroom pictures (you know-- the ones where you stand in a totally unnatural position so to capture both your breasts AND your butt in the same mirror shot with the toilet lurking like a troll in the background)? What does it say to them about modesty and humility to see us dressed in less than our bra and underwear (which we call a swimsuit) at a public beach? What does it say to them about men when we degrade men with our words and watch television shows that participate in female chauvinistic humor toward men? What does it say to them about patience and waiting when we dress them like teenagers long before the curves even appear on their little bodies? What does it say to them about the paramount importance of inner beauty when we show zero integrity in our daily relationships and daily life but yet show off our bodies like they are center stage of life's big happy festival?
I. Am. DONE.
I am not a perfect mother. In fact, I fail daily. And more than once a day. But dadgum it... I REFUSE to let my daughter get sucked into an undercurrent of an ocean that wants to suck the very soul out of her. I REFUSE to. I refuse to let her sell her worth through the shape of her hips instead of the content of her character. I refuse to let her get sucked into a black hole of lies that teach her that a "confident" woman dresses however she chooses and shame on the man that looks at the flesh she's exposing. I refuse to have a toddler in stilettos because it's "cute" (it isn't), or a middle school in a g-string. I refuse to raise a daughter who doesn't see the value of being a loving caregiver to her husband and children but who chooses to sacrifice them on the altar of career equality so she can prove a point. Will she make mistakes? Yep. Will she struggle with her identity and worth along the way while she grows? Yep. Will she, in spite of how many things we do right as her parents still violate wisdom and break our hearts? Yep.
Will I do it all right? Nope.
Here's the deal. A person's prefrontal cortex part of their brain- the part where good judgment and common sense comes from, doesn't mature until somewhere around age 25. This means that there's a wild, untamed part of us that wants to sow our wild oats, break the rules, bend the boundaries, and skip over the fine print whenever possible. This sneaky, rebellious bend in us manifests the moment we take our first breath. We become self-centered, egotistical, narcissistic, and me focused right away. And somehow, we still want to live like that cortex is incomplete as grown ups. And we think the codes of conduct and morality we expect our children to live by don't apply to us as adults. We can say what we want, dress how we want, drink as much as we want, sleep with who ever we want... As if the "right" to do all this becomes ours at adulthood's threshold-- discounting what the actual Word of God says about how to get the best life possible on this earth while we're on it.
Could it be that we are raising a generation of women who have lost the elegance and class that once defined femininity?
Could it be that gender roles are becoming so watered down (thank you, feminism), that roles like Mommy and Wife mean nothing any more?
Could it be that we are producing a whole entire nation of young women who never taste the power of modesty because of the bitter remnants of immorality and sexual proclivities?
Could it be that the incessant pushing of the boundaries they are participating in is being modeled in front of them, not by older siblings or media, but by their own moms?
Could it be they aren't falling for the old "do as I say, don't do as I do" routine?
Could it be that they learned it all from us-- the ones who are older?
Wake up, Moms. You and I have been mandated to teach our girls the lost arts of cooking. Cleaning. Homemaking. Raising babies. Loving our husbands. Showing kindness. Vulnerability. Strength through dignity. Humility through modesty. Pride in our character. Pride in our personalities. Pride in our bodies.
Every day, your daughter is a day older. Every day, a day closer to being a wife, a mom, an employee. Or, a day closer to being someone's object. Someone's property. Someone's eye candy. There is literally power in your choices to shape her final outcome. We can't blame it all on daddies or the lack of them.
You're her example. You're her hope. You're her reason. You're her story.
You're her mom.
Be the elegant, graceful, sassy, confident, inwardly beautiful woman God created you to be.
And she will follow in your footsteps.