For some reason this year as school began I was much more aware of how quickly my kids are growing up. Time is moving quickly and Lily especially is beginning to ride that fine line between my little girl and all grown up.
Watching the MTV music awards and reading this brilliant post have started to make me think about the kind of teenage girls I want mine to be. And more specifically the kind of teenage girl I don’t want them to be.
I am sure raising girls has been difficult for a long time. But, is it just me, or is this an exceptionally hard time to be raising girls. I fear even letting them leave the house because the second they do they are assaulted by images that are so opposite to who I hope for them to be.
So here are the things I desperately want them to know in the not so distant future.
- Everyone is NOT doing it: I don’t know what “it” is at this particular moment, but “it” is always something. And you are not the only person who isn’t doing “it”. And you are better off not doing “it”. And most of the other girls who are doing “it” probably wish they had the guts to say no to doing it too.
- I am not your friend: I love you. Someday I hope we get to the point in our relationship where we are friends. But right now is not that time. I am your mom.
- Don’t EVER pretend you are dumber than you are: Somewhere along the way being a “stupid” girl became cool. Being dumb is never cool (don’t even get me STARTED on this crap). You are super smart girls. Rock your smart girl self. Oh and while we are at it, science and math are not for boys. If you want to be a mathelete, your mama will be in the front row cheering you on.
- Modesty is classy: Thank goodness for Princess Kate bringing classy back. Dressing covered up and with class needs to be trendy again. Showing boys all your stuff in clothes that reveal far too much is not going to attract the kind of boys you want to attract. It might attract the boys you think you want to attract but it will also attract looks from men who are your grandfather’s age. Cover yourself up appropriately.
- Marry someone like your daddy: While we are on the subject of boys, marry someone who cherishes and respects you. Marry someone who brings out your very best. And watch how that boy treats his mother and his waiter. They both say volumes about what kind of person he is.
- There is no such thing as casual sex: I know the world would love you to believe that sex is harmless and silly and can be enjoyed without strings attached. It might even try to make you believe that when you love someone and it “feels right” you should go for it. There is a reason God designed sex for marriage. I know many people who have a lot of regret about their sexual past. I don’t know any who regret that they waited. (see also #1)
- Girls can be mean: Teenage friendships can be brutal. Girls can be horribly mean. Don’t be a mean girl. When you are way out of high school you might not remember all the girls who were mean to you (although unfortunately you might), but you will most likely remember the girl who rose above it all and treated people with kindness. Be that girl.
- You can ALWAYS use your mom and dad as an excuse: I can’t tell you how many bad situations I got myself out of growing up by using my parents as an excuse of why I couldn’t do something I didn’t feel comfortable doing. Tell them we won’t allow you to do xyz. I have NO problem being thrown under the bus so that you don’t end up in a bad situation.
- You are beautiful: I don’t know what you will look like when you are a teenager. So how can I promise you that you are beautiful? Because I know the One that made you and I know you are made in his image. Work on looking like Him on the inside and you will be gorgeous on the outside. Guaranteed.
- I can’t fix it: I wish I could keep you sheltered from the hard stuff. I wish I could take away your pain. But I really don’t. The hard stuff is what will grow you and shape you and make you into an amazing adult. I will listen and hold you hand and wipe your tears (although I refer you back to #2). But I will hopefully guide you back to the One who knows you best. I will mess up HUGELY (as you already know after living with me this long), but He never will. He Never Will.