So-since my oldest daughter will turn 10 in a little over 1 month (hold me!), I thought I would share my list of things I want to teach her before her 10th birthday.
- It's okay to cry. Okay, this one I did take from the original post. I am in full agreement that our children, especially daughters, should be taught that genuine emotions are nothing to be ashamed of. This is important for 2 reasons: 1) I always want to be a safe place for all of my children to share their feelings-good and bad, pretty and not-so-pretty. 2) Understanding the difference between genuine emotion and manipulation is important from the start. Girls especially need to know that using emotions to manipulate others is wrong. Period. It is a form of lying, and therefore a sin. We should be as honest in our emotions as we are in our words. Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1
- Don't be in a hurry to grow up. I remember my mother telling me this as a child, and I clearly remember thinking she did not understand what it was like to be a kid, because if she did, she would understand why I was in a hurry to grow up! I am blessed with 2 daughters and this has helped immensely in keeping my oldest (Emma) interested in playing age-appropriate games and with age-appropriate toys. We have also chosen to home-school our children, this has prevented a lot of the peer pressure issues that girls in Emma's age-group experience at school. That being said-I have seen a shift in her interests in the past 6-9 months which is a clear indication that she is growing up and expanding her interests into areas that need to be more closely regulated by her father and me. Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
- You are not the center of the universe. This is one area where I disagreed with the original post. The original article implied that girls around this age are and should be the center of their own universe as well as the center of their parent's universe, but not the center of anyone else's universe. I want Emma to know she is NOT the center of anyone's universe. And if she is, that person has their priorities wrong. I want her to know she is deeply loved by me, but loving a child and making them the top priority in your world are entirely different things. I want Emma to know that God is my #1 priority. Always. No exceptions. After God, my husband is my next priority. He is not equal with my children or after my children. He is my #1 priority after God. My children come after my husband and I love them all equally (not the same, but equally). I feel it would be a disservice to any of my children to teach them otherwise. It is important to model a biblical marriage and teaching them that my husband is second only to my Savior is part of that process. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:24
- School is important and necessary. As home-school family, we have a different view of education than many families. In fact, we are still working on defining our view of education and how it applies to our family. What I want to teach Emma before she turns 10 is that school requires hard work and is worth the effort. What I don't want her to believe is that school only happens in classroom with desks, chalkboards, and textbooks. I want to instill in her a love for learning and an understanding that learning can happen in many different places and in a variety of manners. There is no "one size fits all" formula for educational success. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
- More is not always better-especially when it comes to friends. Kids at this age, especially girls, can be mean and terrible and cruel. Girls that she was friends with last year, may not be her friends next year, for no other reason than they just outgrew one another. This is a difficult and painful concept to explain, especially to an emotional, almost-10-year-old girl. I want my Emma to understand now what it took me decades to understand-it's more important to have a few (maybe only 1 or 2) good, deep, transparent, and honest friends than to have dozens of "girlfriends". Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
- Be the friend you want to have. This goes hand-in-hand with #5 and is something that it took me decades to learn. If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend. This is a particularly difficult task for young girls who have been raised to think they are the center of the universe (see how that ties back to #3?). The best way to establish and maintain lasting relationships is to be willing to give more than you get. Sacrificial love is not just for marriage, it should be the foundation of all relationships. And don't be mean. Period. The best way to stop the cycle of "mean girl" nastiness is to love one another. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35
- Don't be ashamed of who you are. This is another one where I deviate slightly from the original post. I want to teach my daughter to find who she is in Christ, rather than teaching her to "find herself". Society places great value on "self", but God places great value on dying to self. So rather than teaching her to "be herself" or "find herself" I want to teach her to find the person God desires her to be. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. Romans 2:6-8
- I am never too busy for you and there is nothing you can't come to me with. I think all parents desire to have the confidence of their children. I want my children to know they can always come to me with anything and everything that is going on in their lives. That being said, I also remember being a child (gasp!) and being terrified of disappointing my parents. Who am I kidding...even as an adult I don't want to disappoint my parents! How do we balance setting expectations and being willing to forgive transgressions with our children? (If you have a method that works-I would love to know). All I have come up with is transparency. My husband and I set expectations and boundaries for our children, but we are also quick to recognize and share our short-comings. It is important that our children know we make mistakes. Forgiveness is key to modeling a right relationship with God as well as biblical marriage. If you are a perfect parent, then your children wouldn't need a perfect God. -Sandi Mitchell
- The internet is not safe. I desperately want to keep you safe. It is so much harder for your generation than it was for mine (and I am sure your grandmother felt it was so much harder for my generation than hers). There is evil in this world, sweet girl, and I want to keep you as far away from it as possible as long as possible. There are people out there that just want to hurt people like you, and the internet provides them the anonymity they need to do that. Please trust me and please know that the rules we put in place are primarily for your protection.
- I pray daily for your husband. I pray that you and your husband will choose to serve God first and each other second. I pray that you will marry a man whose heart is fully committed to God. Be patient. God has your perfect match. Trust Him. God has a perfect plan for love and marriage between a man and a woman. The world has tried to warp this into some very disturbing things, but God's truth remains.