We have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. The boys, we are learning are easy for the most part. You guide, direct, throw them a pair of khakis and a shirt, make them brush their teeth, brushing hair is optional and once they reach a certain age make them wear deodorant.
The girl on the other hand has been another whole Oprah Show. There is much much more to deal with and then throw in the fact that she has two older brothers and good grief.
There are things she has done, said, and experienced that I am pretty sure I would’ve never let my first-born do by the age of 5. In fact I have jokingly said, Emma Sanders is the child that I wouldn’t let Preston play with when he was in pre-school.
Braxton and I have both been approached recently about writing a book on girls. And we are considering it but we both have looked at each other and said, “should we make sure she turns out alright first?” So maybe, maybe in 15 years we will write that book.
I am in the process of making a list though. Things that I am teaching her along the way and some things that she is teaching me. Some are things born out of tradition. You know, southern manners and all and some are out of a heart of really wanting her to live for something greater than herself. To seek God’s fame and glory and not her own.
So here is my list. I’m not asking for anyone’s approval of my list. It is my list and as my momma would say, “it is what it is.” If you don’t agree or you are not teaching your daughter the same things, great. If you do agree and even have some things I might want to add, great!
I just felt the need to write my list down in case she forgets or in 25 + years when she becomes a mom she can look back and remember what I taught her.
1. Girls Don’t Say Fart. I know, your brothers say it all the time. In fact, they do it all the time. But you are becoming a beautiful young lady and when you say “fart” it just doesn’t sound as beautiful as you are.
2. When you are wearing a dress or shorts for that matter, keep your legs together and down. No one wants to see what color panties you are wearing and if they do then your daddy has a baseball bat with their name on it.
3. Don’t tear others down. At the root of criticism is insecurity. Any person that is constantly critical of another is deeply insecure and needs justification by pulling others down. Your security lies in the cross of Jesus Christ and what he has done for you, what he says about you. Nothing can take that away from you. Share that with others to build them up, not tear them down.
4. Don’t pick your teeth at the table. It’s gross and I realize we come from a long line of good ol’ southern people who forget where they are sometimes and just pick and pick but please don’t. Excuse yourself from the table and while you are there refresh your lipstick.
5. Be Content not Complacent. There is a difference. Contentment says, “I don’t gain my joy from other people or things. I am content in any given circumstance with any type of people, regardless of what I can get from the situation.” Complacency is self satisfied and un-concerned with others. It says, “I only have to work this hard or do this much.”
Contentment = Joy and Complacency = Laziness.
6. Girls don’t call/text boys first. There are some traditions that are dying hard and fast in this world but I think it is important that you hold fast to some of them. This is one of them. If he is a true gentleman and one that you would want to spend time with then he will make the first move.
7. If you can’t say something nice don’t say it at all and try hard not to think it. Just because we have social media and you can say anything at anytime that you are thinking doesn’t mean that you should. Learn self control, it will go a long way.
8. Always no matter how old you get have respect for authority. Regardless if it is someone in a uniform or if it is the 92 year old lady living next door. Have respect. Listen, honor and respect. “Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir” you are NEVER too old to say that. Hearing a young person say, “yeah” to an adult makes me think they were raised in a barn. And you my dear were not.
9. Enjoy the rain. I mean this literally and metaphorically. There are going to be moments of rain in your life. Take time to stop when it happens and be thankful. The rain/hard times in life bring the water that causes us to grow. And from time to time when it literally rains go out and dance in it. Remember the times we did this together and the rainbows that came out afterwards.
10. Love and be loved. Love with the kind of love that comes from a heart of knowing Jesus. Don’t just love the people that are easy to love. Let people love you. Let them in, share deep friendships where people are free to love you without fear. Love Jesus, learn to love him more and more each day until you become a reflection of him to the world.